Adopted in March 1918.
In March 1918, the state floral
emblem commonly known as the American dogwood ,Cornus florida, was
adopted. It was selected to foster a
feeling of pride in our state and to
stimulate an interest in the history and
traditions of the Commonwealth.
Flowers are highly modified leaves that perform reproductive functions
for plants that bear them. A flower
petal is merely a special leaf that
typically through brightly colored
pigment may attract a pollinator. The
actual reproductive work of the flower
is conducted by the stamens (which bear
pollen) and the pistil (which receives
the pollen and allows it to contact the
flower ovary, where a fruit is
The small flower clusters on the
Flowering Dogwood are surrounded by 4
large, showy bracts that are often
mistaken as petals. Each quarter-inch
flower has four tightly curved petals,
plus two stamens and a single pistil.
Flowers that have dropped their petals
is a sign they likely have been
pollinated. Eventually, after all the
white bracts and tiny petals have
fallen, the remaining flower parts will
wither and turn brown, giving rise to
several fertilized ovaries, the bright
green berries that turn scarlet as they
§ 7.1-38. Floral emblem.
- Flower: Flowering
dogwood blooms in either white or
pink, depending on the cultivar, and
2 inches in diameter. Appearing
March to April in the south, June in
- Plant Type: Deciduous
- Leaf: Opposite, simple,
arcuately veined, 3 to 6 inches
long, oval in shape with an entire
- Fruit: A shiny, oval red
drupe, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, in
clusters of 3 to 4. Maturing in
September to October.
- Twig: Slender, green or
purple, later turning gray, often
with a glaucous bloom. The terminal
flower buds are clove-shaped,
vegetative buds resemble a cat claw.
- Bark: Gray when young,
turning very scaly to blocky.
- Form: A small tree with a
short trunk that branches low,
producing a flat-topped crown.
Branches are opposite, and assume a
The flower commonly known as
American Dogwood (Cornus florida) is
declared to be the floral emblem of
(Code 1950, § 7-36; 1966, c. 102.)
||Plantae -- Plants
Spermatophyta – Seed plants
||Cornaceae – Dogwood
||Cornus L. –
Cornus florida L. –