The US state of Virginia is nicknamed "mother of presidents" since it has produced more presidents than any other American state. It is also called the "Old Dominion" because it was the first English possession in the continent. The state is in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern area of the country. The state is located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast. Virginia has various state symbols including the state flag, state flower, state seal, state tree, state fish, and the state flag. The state flower of Virginia is the American Dogwood also known as the Cornus florida.
History of the Virginia State Flower
The state adopted the state flower in 1918. Very few states in the country including Virginia can claim that their state flower was a favorite to some of the founding fathers of the United States. Thomas Jefferson loved the American Dogwood and had them planted on his Virginia estate during the 1770s. The connection between the American dogwood and Thomas Jefferson is the main reason why the state’s legislators made it the state flower. Virginia is the only state with the same state tree and state flower.
Range of the American Dogwood
The American Dogwood is popular in the northern temperate areas of the United States. It is also native to the north of Mexico and the eastern parts of North America. It is a flowering plant species which belongs to the Cornaceae family. It is planted as an ornamental plant in public and residential areas because of its interesting bark structure and showy bracts.
Description of the American Dogwood
A fully grown American Dogwood can reach a height of between 30-40 feet. The tree blossoms during Spring and it’s really hard to miss its showy red, pink, or white flowers. The tree’s bloom is not a flower, but it is a bract which attracts pollinators to its true flowers. The tree has small inconspicuous flowers which have four greenish-yellow bracts which are about 0.16 inches long. The tree’s flower head has a diameter of about 0.7 inches. The flower head has four red, pink, or white petals. These petals are about 0.98 inches broad and 1.2 inches long, rounded with a unique apex.
In the wild, the American dogwood thrives on dry ridges and the edge of the forests. Even though most wild America dogwoods have white bracts, some have true red and pink bracts. The American dogwood blooms in April and May. The trunk of this tree has a diameter of about 1 inch, and it is covered by a block-like bark which makes it easy for people to distinguish it from other trees when it is not in bloom.
The bracts help attract pollinators to its true flowers. When pollinated, the fertilized ovaries produce an oval green fruit. The fruit is a source of food for various bird species which help distribute its seeds.