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On June 20, 1955, the flowering dogwood, (Cornaceae Cornus florida,) became Missouri's official state tree (Arboreal Emblem). The tree is small in size, rarely growing over 40 feet in height or 18 inches in diameter. The dogwood sprouts tiny greenish-yellow flowers in clusters, with each flower surrounded by four white petals. The paried, oval leaves are olive green above and covered with silvery hairs underneath. In the fall, the upper part of the leaves turns scarlet or orange and bright red fruits grow on the tree. White flowers bloom in spring. Dark green foliage changes to red in fall. Red berries remain on tree late in fall.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of America's most popular ornamental trees. Known to most people simply as dogwood, it has other common names, including boxwood and cornel. The species name florida is Latin for flowering, but the showy petal-like bracts are not in fact flowers. The bright red fruit of this fast-growing short-lived tree are poisonous to humans but provide a great variety of wildlife with food. The wood is smooth, hard and close-textured and now used for specialty products.
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) is a species of flowering plant in the family Cornaceae native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario, Illinois, and eastern Kansas, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas, with a disjunct population in Nuevo León and Veracruz in eastern Mexico. In Ontario, this tree species has been assessed and is now listed as endangered.
The law designating the lowering dogwood as the official STATE state arboreal emblem is found in the Missouri Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 10, Section 10.040.
Title II - SOVEREIGNTY, JURISDICTION AND EMBLEMS
Missouri Chapter 10 - State Emblems
State arboreal emblem.
10.040. The flowering dogwood scientifically designated as Cornus Florida L. is declared to be the arboreal emblem of Missouri and the state department of agriculture shall recognize it as the official state tree and encourage its cultivation on account of the beauty of its flower and foliage.
(L. 1955 p. 769 § 1, A.L. 1957 p. 726)
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Flowering Dogwood
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division; Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class; Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Cornaceae - Dogwood family
Genus: Cornus L. - dogwood
Species: Cornus florida L. - flowering dogwood