Dogwood trees are one of the most beautiful varieties of flowering trees (in my opinion…obviously). Not only is this glorious tree eye catching and always a talking point, but the flowering dogwood has a rich history of medicinal uses and famous lore surrounding it.
The Dogwood has some pretty diverse medicinal uses. Its bark can be made into a tea that can aid with fever reduction and also as a treatment for mange and malaria! Most commonly, the bark and wood are for making tools; like walking sticks. The wood is very strong and hard making it ideal for things that require a hard wood.
The name, Dogwood, comes most commonly from the fact of the wood being so hard and dense when it’s dry. Making it ideal for a “doggerwood”, or a fancy English name for “a stick used to skewer meat”. The other thought is that the bark was used to cure mange in dogs. Super glamorous right?
This interesting tree has some pretty diverse medicinal uses. Its bark can be made into a tea that can aid with fever reduction and also as a treatment for mange and malaria!
In the Victorian Era, the dogwood flower was a symbol of courtship and romance. A young man who was interested in courting a young lady would present her with an arrangement of dogwood flowers. If the young lady kept the flowers, she returned his interest. If she wasn’t feeling it she would return the flower. In my opinion, this would really work with any flower – pretty sure if someone returned or rejected any type of beautiful flower given to them it would convey rejection!
The Cherokee People had a super interesting theory around the dogwood tree. They believed that a small, tiny people lived among the Dogwoods and they were tasked to teach people to live in harmony with the woods. They were kind and were protectors of the babies and the old and ill.
While incredibly beautiful, watch out for the fruits they produce! Known as “dogberries” or “houndberries”, they are pretty gross and do not have many uses in the kitchen. However, they sure are fun for the kiddos to play pretend cooking!
Typically, a dogwood tree flowers in the spring and gets clusters of yellows, pinks, white, or red flowers. The flowers stick around for about two to three weeks. Many Dogwood trees can grow to around 20 – 25 feet and live for up to 80 years.
It is a safe haven and source of nourishment for many small birds and mammals.
So next time you see a Dogwood, take a moment to reflect on its unique history.