Palestine's annual tradition of the Dogwood Trails Celebration is timed to welcome the arrival of the springtime flowers, which bloom between March and June and persist for two to four weeks.
According to the National Plant Data Center, the deciduous multi-branched flowering dogwood of the Dogwood Family (Cornaceae) is “characterized by a rounded crown and horizontal branches that spread wider than its height.”
Most people tend to think the dogwood's flowers are white, since this is the most visible blossom. But in actuality, the flowers are the little yellow clusters in the center of the bloom.
Like tiny framed bouquets, the golden flowers are enveloped by four large white bracts.
Bracts are modified leaves, having a rounded notch on the outer edge, and are often mistaken for petals.
According to the NPDC, the dogwood also bears fruit in the fall, which “are yellow to red berrylike drupes that contain one to two cream-colored, ellipsoid seeds.”
Fruits ripen in September and October with attractive fall foliage, and flowers bloom between March and June, with or before the leaves.
In gardening, the dogwood is popular as a shade tree on patios, as a shrub border or backdrop species, or as a stand-alone ornament adorning a lawn. It is best suited in an area receiving less than full-day sun.
Locally, the trees are slated to bless our area for a couple more weeks – setting a scenic backdrop for Easter dress photos, family picnics and moments in the park spent running with a pooch and a frisbee.