Supported by the Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of Norfolk, the flower of the American dogwood, (Cornus florida,) was adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia as the official floral emblem of the Commonwealth on March 6, 1918. It was selected to foster a feeling of pride in state of Virginia and to stimulate an interest in the history and traditions of the Commonwealth.
Flowers are highly
modified leaves that perform reproductive functions for plants that bear them. A flower petal is merely a special leaf that typically through brightly
colored pigment may attract a pollinator. The actual reproductive work of the flower is conducted by the stamens (which bear pollen) and the pistil
(which receives the pollen and allows it to contact the flower ovary, where a fruit is produced).
The small flower clusters on the Flowering Dogwood are surrounded by 4 large, showy bracts that are often mistaken as petals. Each quarter-inch flower has four tightly curved petals, plus two stamens and a single pistil. Flowers that have dropped their petals is a sign they likely have been pollinated. Eventually, after all the white bracts and tiny petals have fallen, the remaining flower parts will wither and turn brown, giving rise to several fertilized ovaries, the bright green berries that turn scarlet as they ripen.
Supported by the Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of Norfolk, the flower of the American dogwood (Cornus florida) was adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia as the official floral emblem of the Commonwealth on March 6, 1918.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 3 read, in part,
to designate a floral emblem for the State of Virginia.
WHEREAS, the adoption of the State floral emblem by the authority of the general assembly would foster a feeling of pride in our State and stimulate an interest in the history and traditions of the Commonwealth, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, by the senate, the house of delegated concurring, That the flower commonly known as the American Dogwood (Cornus Florida), is hereby declared to be the floral emblem of the State of Virginia.
State Librarian H. R. McIlwaine indicated in a letter dated March 19, 1930, that the blossom of the dogwood was chosen because it is so prevalent in the State and because it adds beauty to the Virginia landscape, especially in the spring.
The law designating the American Dogwood as the official Virginia state floral emblem is found in the Code of Virginia, Title 7.1, Chapter 5, Section 7.1-38.
Title 7.1 - BOUNDARIES, JURISDICTION AND EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH...
Chapter 5 - Song, Floral Emblem, Official Dog, Shell, Beverage, etc. of the Commonwealth.
§ 7.1-38. Floral emblem.
The flower commonly known as American Dogwood (Cornus florida) is declared to be the floral emblem of the Commonwealth.
(Code 1950, § 7-36; 1966, c. 102.)
Taxonomic Hierarchy: American Dogwood
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae -
Order: Cornales -
Family: Cornaceae - Dogwood family
Genus: Cornus L. - dogwood
Species: Cornus florida L. - flowering dogwood
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