Tombstone Tuesday-Dogwood Flower

Flowers are commonly carved on tombstones. Flowers have a natural beauty and the individual varieties have special, symbolic meanings. 

People in ancient cultures often left flowers in and on the graves of their loved ones out of respect.

Flowers carved on a tombstone create a permanent remembrance.

This flower is the dogwood flower.

Dogwood flower symbol

The dogwood flower is a symbol of Easter, the Passion of Christ, rebirth, renewal, and beginnings. Dogwood trees bloom in April, often during the Easter season, and are a reminder of spring, regeneration, and resurrection.

Dogwood flower

The dogwood flower is predominantly white, symbolizing beginning, purity, and spiritual perfection.

The four white petals of the dogwood tree are not really petals but are leaves, called bracts. The actual flowers are the small yellow clusters in the center of the bracts.

The four bracts of the dogwood flower form a perfect cross, with what looks like a crown of thorns in the middle. Each of the four bracts is indented on the edge, giving the appearance that a nail has passed through it. In that dent is a red spot of color that resembles blood. Christ’s blood. For that reason, dogwood trees were and are still often planted in and around cemeteries.   

In nature the dogwood is hard and durable, giving additional symbolic values of strength, protection, and a firm will.

Dogwood flower

There is a legend of the dogwood tree that claims the cross of Jesus’ crucifixion was made of dogwood. According to the legend, the dogwood tree was very different then and was a strong, solid tree that grew larger than an oak or cedar tree. It was chosen to make Jesus’ cross because its wood was very strong and sturdy. After Jesus was crucified God declared that dogwoods would never grow tall enough to create another cross. Jesus blessed the dogwood tree to grow beautiful flowers that would bloom at Easter time.

In actuality, flowering dogwood trees are native only to Eastern North America and Northern Mexico and are not native to the Middle East. There were no dogwood trees in Israel during the time of Jesus and dogwood trees are not mentioned in the Bible.

Dogwood trees produce red fruit in the fall and are deciduous trees, dropping their leaves in the fall. The average lifespan of a dogwood is 80 years.

As an old Southern saying goes, referring to a deceased person, “I’ll see you when the dogwood blooms.”

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