The Cherokee have a long history of using the Flowering Dogwood. They would fashion some of the twigs together to form a toothbrush while other branches were used to make arrows. The wood is very hard and tools and tool handles were fashioned from its limbs. The leaves were used to create an antiseptic to treat skin infections. The bark was chewed to treat headaches. A tea was made from the bark to calm the nerves.
The Dogwood blooms in April to May time frame and has beautiful red foliage in the fall when its bright red berries ripen. The picture on the right was taken this afternoon from our breakfast room window. We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy this lovely native tree all year long. It is a large Dogwood and as best we can tell it is 45 to 50 years old. It is at the entrance to our upper garden and each fall the birds just cover the tree while eating the berries. Last year we had three sets of Cardinals, many Robins and Wrens feasting on the berries. One Robin had eaten so many berries that he appeared to be swollen and the look on his face was “Can I still fly?”.
The tree prefers moist, organic, acidic soils and part shade. They will reach 15 to 30 feet tall with the same spreading width. The actual Dogwood flowers are is the small yellowish center that is surrounded by four white and flat pedals. I love it when both the Dogwood and Redbuds are blooming at the same time in our garden.