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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

I Did Not Know This

I have always associated dogwoods with southern springs. In fact, if you look up dogwoods, they are described as being native to the Eastern United States and they can be found from central Florida to southern Maine. They are the state tree for both Virginia and North Carolina. I had no idea that they could also be found in certain locations in California, though. I have a photographer friend who sent pictures of dogwoods he had taken recently in the Yosemite Valley. I wrote him back expressing my surprise that there were dogwoods in California. He responded that they are a different species from the eastern one and, in California, only grow in a limited habitat in the Sierra Mountains between 4000 and 6000 feet. Piquing my interest, I did a on-line search to find out more. Known as Pacific Dogwood, these trees can actually be found from British Columbia to California. Unlike the Eastern Flowering Dogwood, the petals of the Pacific version has oval leaves. It is particularly susceptible to a fungus known as dogwood anthracnose, which is why it is not seen as an ornamental tree in those areas. Pacific Dogwoods have a low tolerance for frost and a high tolerance to flooding, which is why it is often found along stream beds in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains. It is also capable of sprouting from root crowns after a fire, too. It often blooms twice a year, too, spring and fall. Obviously, my image today is not a Pacific dogwood. This one was actually taken when I was visiting Biltmore a couple of springs ago. But after looking at my friend Michael's pictures it is obvious that the western version of these lovely trees bring the same kind of sparkle to the natural landscape as they do in the East, as you can tell from his picture below. Thank you, Michael Frye, not only for the beautiful image, but also for educating me about one of my favorite flowering trees.

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