Monday, May 16, 2011
USA - Virginia - State Flower
Dogwood - State Flower
The American dogwood is well distributed throughout the Commonwealth, and its beauty is symbolic of the many attractive features of Virginia, thus it was chosen as the official state flower. The dogwood blooms in early spring and its blossom is a tiny cluster of flowers surrounded by four white leaves that look like petals. No tree says "Southern" better than the flowering dogwood.
Sent by Mads, a postcrosser from Washinton D.C., USA.
This is from Wikipedia : Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood, syn. Benthamidia florida (L.) Spach) is a species of dogwood native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario and eastern Kansas, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas and also in Illinois, with a disjunct population in eastern Mexico in Nuevo León and Veracruz.
Flowering dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm (1 ft). A 10-year-old tree will stand about 5 m (16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, 6–13 cm long and 4–6 cm broad, with an apparently entire margin (actually very finely toothed, under a lens); they turn a rich red-brown in fall.
The flowers are individually small and inconspicuous, with four greenish-yellow petals 4 mm long. Around 20 flowers are produced in a dense, rounded, umbel-shaped inflorescence, or flower-head, 1–2 cm in diameter. The flower-head is surrounded by four conspicuous large white, pink or red "petals" (actually bracts), each bract 3 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, rounded, and often with a distinct notch at the apex. The flowers are bisexual.
While most of the wild trees have white bracts, some selected cultivars of this tree also have pink bracts, some even almost a true red. They typically flower in early April in the southern part of their range, to late April or early May in northern and high altitude areas. The similar Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), native to Asia, flowers about a month later.
The fruit is a cluster of two to ten drupes, each 10–15 mm long and about 8 mm wide, which ripen in the late summer and the early fall to a bright red, or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds, which then distribute the seeds.