Dogwood is the common name for woody plants of the genus “Cornus” that belong to the Cornaceae family. What’s special about this tree is that when its blossoms start to bloom, the tree becomes covered in beautiful flowers.
So what is the meaning of dogwood flower?
Dogwood flowers originally represent purity and innocence, thanks to their white color. They also have religious symbolism as well as several other meanings, such as resilience, hope, affection, and peace. The flowers can also exist in several other colors, which can affect their meaning.
In today’s guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about the dogwood flower’s meaning as well as its cultural significance!
Dogwood Flower Origin and Etymology
Dogwood comes in a wide range of varieties that are native to several parts of the world, including North America, Europe, and Asia.
The flowering dogwood tree is the most popular species and it is characterized by its beautiful blossoms that bloom in spring.
The reason why this tree is called dogwood is debated. Some people believe that it is called dogwood because it was used to make skewers due to the wood’s reliability and durability, which were called “dogs”.
On the other hand, others believe that it comes from the word “dag”, which is a Celtic word that describes a tool used for cleaning. Additionally, some associate the name of the tree with the medicinal benefits of its bark, as it was used to treat mangy dogs.
Although dogwood trees look similar to Japanese cherry blossom trees, they are not the same, nor do they even belong to the same botanical family.
With that said, cherry blossom trees in Japan have a pretty similar meaning to dogwood, especially when it comes to rebirth and hope.
What Does the Dogwood Flower Symbolize?
The beautiful blossoms of the dogwood tree have a lot of meanings, which can vary depending on various aspects, including cultural significance and color.
The Dogwood flower is one of the most popular symbols of rebirth. In fact, unlike other symbols that can represent starting a new chapter in life, dogwood represents resurrection itself.
The reason why this dogwood is strongly associated with rebirth is the use of its wood to make the crucifixion cross as well as its pure white color.
In fact, using dogwood flowers for decorations in a religious event, such as baptism or first communion is not uncommon.
The lovely blossoms of the dogwood tree also represent hope for a better future. The flower is generally associated with positive expectations and optimism.
This makes it an excellent gifting choice for someone who is about to go through a new adventure in their life.
3. Resilience and Strength
There are several reasons why dogwood is often associated with strength, durability, and resilience.
For starters, the wood of this plant is remarkably durable, and can even match the durability of some sturdy types of wood, such as oak. This is actually the reason why dogwood was used to make hefty wooden structures and tools.
Additionally, while its blossoms may seem fragile, they are surprisingly resilient and can adapt to a wide range of environments, which explains the abundance of dogwood species around the world!
4. Purity and Fidelity
As a sacred flower that has a deep relationship with religions like Christianity. It is no surprise that the dogwood flower is a popular symbol of fidelity, innocence, and purity.
Not only that, but its beautiful blossom-rich sprigs are often used to decorate weddings because of their beauty and resilience, so they are commonly associated with chastity and pure love.
5. Affection and Eternal Love
The Victorian era marks the height of the language of flowers, also known as “floriography”, which is the use of flowers to convey messages.
The interpretation of the dogwood flower was eternal love and affection, especially the emotional and pure type of love.
In fact, it was pretty common for young men to gift a female these flowers to show their interest in marriage, but more about that later.
This one dates back to ancient Chinese culture where the dogwood tree is associated with energy, vibrancy, and youth.
The reason behind that belief is that dogwood trees produce a lot of leaves and flowers throughout their life.
The dogwood flower is also said to be a symbol of calmness, peace, and determination. Although dogwood trees are relatively small, their sturdiness helps them stand the test of time, even in the worst weather conditions.
This characteristic resilience is why dogwood trees symbolize determination. For that reason, gifting someone with dogwood flowers is a hidden message for support and encouragement.
8. Good Luck
Last but not least, due to the sacred vibes around the dogwood tree and its many benefits throughout the ages, the flowers of the tree are regarded as a good luck charm that you can use to decorate your house in order to bring positive vibes.
In fact, many cultures regard dogwood flowers as bearers of good luck. In fact, it’s still a tradition among some families in the New England region to decorate their wedding with dogwood sprigs for good luck.
What Do Different Colors of Dogwood Flower Symbolize?
Although the dogwood flower is characterized by its pure white color, there are other varieties of that plant species that have colored blossoms.
One thing you should keep in mind is that all these colors are still interchangeable when it comes to symbolism, even if they still have specific meanings related to their color. In other words, you can use any one of them to give the same meaning as a dogwood flower.
Let’s have a quick look at the meaning of each one of these colors:
Pink Dogwood Flower
Pink dogwood flowers come in various shades. The pale shades of pink symbolize youth, energy, as well as friendship while deeper shades of pink have a more romantic approach.
A sprig of deep pink colors is used to symbolize affection and gratitude, making them ideal for gifting between lovers.
Red Dogwood Flower
Technically, there aren’t really red dogwood flowers. However, some shades of the pink dogwood flower will have a deep rosy red color that people will mistake for a red dogwood flower.
Similar to other red colored flowers, these rosy red dogwood flowers are associated with passion, romance, and love.
These deeply colored dogwood flowers were used in the Victorian era as a way to approach someone you’re deeply attracted to.
The Significance of Dogwood Flowers in Other Cultures
Now that you know more about the meanings of dogwood flowers in today’s world, you might be wondering about the cultural significance of the flowers in different parts of the world and how the flower is perceived, and that’s what this section is all about!
As previously mentioned, the religious significance of the dogwood tree is no secret, as the wood from this tree was used to make crosses for crucifixion thanks to its durability and strength.
Dogwood trees were pretty common in Jerusalem during the time of the crucifixion, which made them a good choice for making resilient wooden figures.
For that reason, different parts of the tree, including its flowers, hold a sacred status among Christians.
In Greek Culture
There are some claims that dogwood flowers are associated with Hecate, which is the Greek Goddess of magic, sorcery, and spells. However, there is not enough evidence in reliable historical records about this connection.
With that said, Ancient Greek medicine used Cornelian Cherry, the European variety of dogwood, as a medicine to treat a variety of ailments.
In Victorian Era
Since dogwood flowers meant eternal love, it was a common tradition for bachelors to gift the women they loved with sprigs of dogwood flowers to convey their interest in marriage.
According to this tradition, if the young woman keeps the dogwood flowers, she has mutual feelings toward the man, and it is a sign that he should go on and propose to her. However, if she returns the flowers, it means that she wasn’t interested in marrying him.
This is also why marriages at that time were usually decorated with dogwood flowers.
In the United States
The early settlers of America had some similar traditions to those of the Victorian era. The flowers were also used to decorate weddings to bring good love and represent the fidelity and purity of their love.
Final Words On Meaning of Dogwood Flower
This wraps it up for today’s article that shows you the significance and meaning of the dogwood flower.
As you can see, the dogwood flower has a plethora of meanings. However, one of the most popular meanings of the flower is rebirth, hope, and resilience.
The significance of the dogwood flower is inspired by religion as well as old Victorian traditions. All in all, dogwood blossoms are remarkably aesthetic and their trees are always colorful and attractive.
Gifting someone with the dogwood blossom means that they hold a special place in your heart and that you only have admiration and respect for them!
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