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The Legend of the Dogwood

The dogwoods are blooming in Southeastern North Carolina. The blooms are early this year. How do I know? Fayetteville’s Dogwood Festival isn’t scheduled until mid-April. The festival usually coincides with the blossoming of the city’s dogwood trees.

Fayetteville takes its dogwoods seriously. I appreciate that because I’ve always been partial to dogwoods. They grew wild on the mountain behind Mamaw and Papaw’s house. When I was little, Mamaw plucked their flowers and used them to teach me the legend of the dogwood.

I wish I could remember Mamaw’s version of the legend – but it’s slipped my mind (like so many other things over the years). I found this one online, and it’s pretty close to the one Mamaw shared with me.

The Legend of the Dogwood

When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven
And for Christ’s cross, its timbers were chosen.

Being distressed at the use of the wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
“Not ever again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so

Slender and twisted it shall always be
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.
The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown
And in the blossom’s center a thorny crown.

All who see it will think of Me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be
A reflection to all of My agony.”


The legend has been passed down through the generations here in America since the early 1900s. It reminds us Christians of Christ’s love and sacrifice. For me, it doubles as a touching reminder of time spent back on the mountain with Mamaw.

Have you ever heard The Legend of the Dogwood before?

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