Come spring, the first thing you would notice in every pocket of woods in Raleigh, NC are dazzling white flowers that make an appearance all of a sudden. There would be small shrubs to medium sized trees, with all their branches dressed in white, and they are a sight demanding attention. These are Cornus florida or the Flowering Dogwood.
The Flowering Dogwood, also known as White Dogwood, is one of thirty to sixty species of hardwood trees distributed in the the temperate and boreal zones of the Northern Hemisphere. North America is particularly abundant in Cornus species, many of which are planted as ornamental trees. The Flowering Dogwood happens to be the state flower of North Carolina.
The white ‘flowers’ are in fact bracts. The true flowers are clustered in the centre and they have tiny petals. The ethereal beauty of the Flowering Dogwood has inspired legions of nature photographer, not least the celebrated Ansel Adams, whose monochrome portraits of dogwood flowers in bloom appear like stars against a dark sky.
I missed photographing the blooming of the dogwoods in the last couple of years, due to weekends spent working, but this time I managed to spend an afternoon when they were in bloom. I was probably a week late, because the leaves too had started appearing.
Here’s a compilation from that little stroll.
Next year I promise better reaction to the spring, when I will bring to you the dogwoods in all their leaf-nude glory!
Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan
From The Green Ogre series on Flowering Trees, also read:
Rhododendron, sentinel of the highlands
The Cannonball Tree – An explosion of beauty
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