New Jersey State Memorial Tree

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

(Cornus florida)

Adopted on January 15, 1951.

The state memorial tree is the dogwood, authorized by Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 2 of 1951.

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.

The official state tree is the red oak, (Quercus borealis maxima.) The red oak was authorized by a Joint Resolution signed by Governor Alfred E. Driscoll June 13, 1950.

New Jersey State Memorial Tree:
Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

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 Le? and Veracruz in eastern Mexico.

White flowers bloom in spring. Dark green foliage changes to red in fall. Red berries remain on tree late in fall.

Characteristics of the Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

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.

Identification of the Flowering Dogwood

  • Leaf: Opposite, simple, arcuately veined, 3 to 6 inches long, oval in shape with an entire margin.
  • Flower: Very small, but surrounded by 4 large white (occasionally pink) bracts, 2 inches in diameter. Appearing March to April in the south, June in the north.
  • Fruit: A shiny, oval red drupe, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, in clusters of 3 to 4. Maturing in September to October.
  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Twig: Slender, green or purple, later turning gray, often with a glaucous bloom. The terminal flower buds are clove-shaped, vegetative buds resemble a cat claw.
  • Bark: Gray when young, turning very scaly to blocky.
  • Form: A small tree with a short trunk that branches low, producing a flat-topped crown. Branches are opposite, and assume a "candelabra" appearance.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 2 of 1951.

Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 2 of 1951.

Introduced January 15, 1951

Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

A Concurrent Resolution providing for the adoption of the
dogwood tree (Cornus Florida) as the New Jersey State
Memorial Tree.

WHEREAS, It is the practice of many patriotic and public-
spirited organizations and the State of New Jersey, and the State
Highway Department , to plant dogwood trees along the border of New
Jersey's Memorial Highway known as the "Blue Star Drive" in honor of
the men and women in our Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, It is in the public interested and welfare to foster
the widespread use of the dogwood as a memorial tree in our parks,
parkways, monuments, and building sites; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Assembly of the State of New
Jersey (the Senate concurring):

1. That the dogwood tree (Cornus Florida) be and it is hereby
adopted and designated as the New Jersey State Memorial Tree.

Taxonomic Hierarchy:  Flowering 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

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state.