There’s nothing more majestic than a dogwood in spring, decked out with fabulous flowers! To some people, though, dogwoods hold a deeper meaning. The legend of the dogwood tree is an age-old story that tells the story of this magnificent tree and how it become the tree we know and love today.
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Cherokee Brave® couldn’t help but be noticed when it appeared on the scene. A chance seedling at the nursery of the late Hubert Nicholson of Decherd, Tennessee, it quickly outpaced its siblings, growing one and a half times as fast as other red-blooming Dogwoods. Its leaves were bigger, too, and the new growth was infused with rich purplish-red tones. In time, other distinctions became apparent—most importantly, the new tree seemed to have built-in defenses against powdery mildew and anthracnose. It was awarded a patent in 1997.
The Cherokee people have never had princesses, so ‘Cherokee Princess’ Dogwood is a bit of a misnomer. However, many tree experts believe this tree to be not merely Princess, but Queen of the Flowering Dogwoods for its lavish and dependable flower display. Some controversy surrounds the origin of this tree. Some say it was discovered in Kentucky by J.C. Higden. Others insist it’s the plant that was found by Hawkersmith and Sons in Tennessee and listed in their 1959 catalog as “Sno-White.” No matter where she came from, she’s royalty now!
Flowering Dogwoods got their scientific name, Cornus, from the Latin for “horn”—as in a ram’s horn—because their wood is so hard that two trees could theoretically rear back and headbutt one another with no serious damage resulting. The hard-as-horn wood can be fashioned into indestructible items like butcher blocks, golf club heads, tool handles, and daggers, or “dags.” “Dagwood” evolved into “Dogwood.” The species name florida is a reference to the showy flowers, not the state—though Flowering Dogwoods are native to Florida. This pink variety was discovered in Virginia.