The Dogwood

Cornaceae

The name dogwood refers not to a single plant but to dozens of different species in the family Cornaceae. They vary considerably in size, shape and colour. Perhaps the most popular are those with white or pink flowers and red berries.

Easter

The dogwood is usually a spring blooming plant, often in flower over Easter. It has been "adopted" by the Christian religion as a symbol of the crucifixion of Christ.

The legend says that a flowering dogwood tree was used to make the cross of the crucifixion and as a result it now grows as a living memory of the event. Whether this is a blessing or a curse depends on which version of the story you prefer.

Symbolism

Various aspects of the crucifixion are said to be symbolised as follows:

• The Cross
Respresented by the four "petals" (bracts) of many dogwood flowers which form a cross.

• The Nails
The "petals" often have marks on the outer edge said to be nail marks.

• The Crown of Thorns
The centre of the flower can sometimes resemble a crown.

• The Blood
The red dogwood berries are said to represent the blood of Christ.