Botanical Name

Cornus florida

Year Adopted


Peak Bloom

April to June


There is a folklore in North Carolina that says the flowering dogwood tree once stood straight and tall but was used to make the cross of Jesus Christ which horrified the tree into its current slender, twisted shape.

Fun Fact

Native Americans used the bark of the roots of flowering Dogwood to reduce fevers and aches.

North Carolina state flower - The Flowering Dogwood
Did you know the North Carolina state flower isn’t just spectacular for a few weeks of the year, it’s gorgeous all year long! The Flowering Dogwood blooms in springtime, turning hills and mountainsides across the state a snowy white, light pink or red. The delightful show continues into summer. As its showy flowers drop, the tree’s dark green foliage stands out. In autumn, the Dogwood is a dazzling display of orange, red, and scarlet leaves with clusters of dangling red berries. Each winter, button-shaped buds emerge from the tree’s twigs, creating a beautiful wintertime silhouette.

North Carolina’s state flower is not really a flower but a small tree on which flowers grow. At maturity, the Flowering Dogwood reaches heights between 30-40 feet. Its trunk is covered with small, block-like bark. According to some stories, a wash made with the bark of the English Dogwood cured dogs with mange, offering a possible explanation for the tree’s name.

Interestingly, this “flower” most associated with the North Carolina state flower is not a flower at all! It is an attractive, notched bracts designed to lure pollinators toward the tree’s true flowers. These small, yellow blooms are located in a tight cluster at the center of the bracts. After a flower is pollinated, its bracts droop and fall and fertilized ovaries form a cluster of small fruits. In autumn, the red fruit of the Dogwood is a favorite for birds which distribute the Dogwood’s seeds.

Legislators noted the Dogwood’s ubiquitous presence throughout the state when they designated it as the North Carolina state flower in 1941. The Dogwood can be found as far west as the mountains, throughout the middle Piedmont region of the state and all the way to the Atlantic coast.In the residential suburbs of Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte, flowers from the Dogwood have graced sumptuous gardens for decades.

Growing Information




Full Sun/Partial Shade


5 - 9