Dogwood Facts

Dogwood Facts
Dogwood is a type of flowering tree that belongs to the family Cornaceae. There are 30 to 50 species of dogwood that are native to temperate areas of North America and Eurasia. Dogwood can be found in the evergreen forests or on the edges of deciduous forests. It grows on fertile, loamy soil in areas that provide enough moisture and shade. People cultivate dogwood in ornamental purposes, as a source of food, medicine and tough, durable wood.
Interesting Dogwood Facts:
Dogwood can grow in the form of bush or small tree. It rarely exceeds height of 15 to 25 feet.
Dogwood produces simple, green leaves with wavy edges. Leaves are usually oppositely arranged on the branches.
Dogwood flowers are not "true" flowers. White petals are actually bracts, modified leaves that surround centrally positioned miniature yellowish-green flower heads. Each flower head consists of 20 to 30 individual flowers.
Dogwood produces bisexual flowers (they contain both male and female reproductive organs). Tree blooms during the spring and attracts numerous insects, responsible for the pollination of the flowers.
Fruit of dogwood is botanically known as drupe (stone fruit). It is oval, berry-like, usually brightly colored (red or pink) and filled with one or two seed.
Fruit and seed of dogwood represent important source of food for the wild species of birds and mammals.
Fruit of some species of dogwood are used in human diet. Dogwood "berries" can be consumed fresh, or in the form of jams and wines.
According to the legend, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross made of dogwood. God was angry and he transformed this once tall plant into the small tree to prevent similar abuse of wood in the future.
During the Victorian Era, men were testing affection of unmarried women using the dogwood blossoms. Acceptance of the flower was a signal that woman is interested. Returned flower was a sign of unrequited love.
Farmers in the southeastern parts of the USA often wait completion of the blooming of dogwood before they start to plant important crops (especially corn).
Bark-free branches of dogwood were used as toothbrushes in the past.
Wood of dogwood is used in the manufacture of roller skates, tool handles, spools, spindles and golf club heads.
Native Americans used root of dogwood to attract muskrats into the traps.
Bark of dogwood is rich source of bitter-tasting tannins that can be used in treatment of malaria. Tea made of bark can be used in treatment of pain and fever. Dogwood plays important role in traditional Chinese medicine where it is used in treatment of dizziness, weakness, pain in the knees and back, uterine bleeding and excessive sweating.
Dogwood can survive from 25 to 30 years under optimal conditions.


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