As I was driving this afternoon, savoring the warmth and spring sunshine, I couldn’t help but notice the liberal sprinkling of flowering trees in the countryside. The Flowering Dogwood, with its showy white or pink blossoms, is Missouri’s state tree. And rightly so. The tree’s flowers appear this time of year, lagging a bit behind other common flowering trees, such as the redbud or Bradford pear.
The trees are easily spotted, growing wild in the woods. Our trees are just beginning to leaf out and the Dogwoods, dressed in white, stand out among the soft greens of the other trees’ new leaves.
The Flowering Dogwood became Missouri’s official state tree in 1955. The tree’s wood is valued for making loom shuttles, arrows, tool handles, and other small items that require a very hard, strong wood.
Many people enjoy having this decorative tree in their yards. Driving around Joplin today I spotted gorgeous Dogwoods in neighborhoods and parks. I stopped to take a picture of the beautiful specimen above, planted on the Missouri Southern State University campus.
Pink Dogwoods are common in town, but rarely seen in the surrounding woods. Occasionally I’ll see a tree that has both white and pink blooms on it.
It brought joy to my heart this afternoon, seeing the Dogwoods in bloom. When the woods are dotted with white blossoms, I know we truly have left winter behind. For me, they symbolize rebirth and new life and perseverance.
And I have a personal connection to this tree. The cane that I used, during a recent sciatica flare up, is carved from a Dogwood tree. It served as support when I needed it and I came to appreciate the smooth, aged wood, for its assistance and its simple beauty.
Kahlil Gibran said, “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” I’m grateful to have both in my life…love, and trees with blossoms, the beautiful Missouri state tree, the Flowering Dogwood.