The dogwood, (Cornaceae Cornus florida,) was adopted as the state tree on February 24, 1956. The dogwood is well distributed throughout the Commonwealth, and its beauty is symbolic of the many attractive features of Virginia. The dogwood blooms in early spring and its blossom is a tiny cluster of flowers surrounded by four white leaves that look like petals. In 1918, the state floral emblem commonly known as the American dogwood (Cornus florida) was adopted. It was selected to foster a feeling of pride in our state and to stimulate an interest in the history and traditions of the Commonwealth.
Flowering dogwood 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.
Taxonomic Hierarchy of the Flowering Dogwood
|Kingdom||Plantae -- Plants|
|Subkingdom||Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants|
|Superdivision||Spermatophyta --Seed plants|
|Division||Magnoliophyta --Flowering plants|
|Family||Cornaceae --Dogwood family|
|Genus||Cornus L. --dogwood|
|Species||Cornus florida L. --flowering dogwood|
Dendrology at Virginia Tech
US Department of Agriculture
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