When the shadbush and redbud flowers are all but past, and the fragile petals of the wild plums have been scattered to the winds, the dogwood flowers spread whitely beneath the sun. since spring first arrived, the dogwood bracts have been expanding. All winter long on the small trees there were round buds of pale grey tipped with purplish. Then as the first hint of spring came and the sunshine grew warmer, when the wind at last was in the south, and the cardinals were singing, the dogwood bracts curving around each bud slowly opened. Like the immature wings of a newly emerged moth, which expand to lull size in a few minutes, the dogwood bracts now. day after day, acquire more of the true character of flowers.
Cornus florida L.
April - May. Rocky woods, river hills.
At first the flowers are wrinkled and grey-lavender, half an inch Long. Then they bleach to green-white or yellowish white until, on a magnificent morning in late April or May, when birds are singing their great springtime concert, the sun sparkles upon the glistening white butterfly flowers of the dogwood.
The tour bracts are now white. They form what appears to he a four-petaled flower, hut the true flowers themselves are tiny, tubular, and greenish yellow in a cluster in the center of the bracts. But the technicalities of whether the dogwood's spring performance deals in bracts or in true flowers matter very little on a bright spring day when the hills are splashed with dogwood snow.
Dogwood follows the limestone and sandstone hills along the rivers southward through Illinois, south through the southern hills and down the Mississippi into the far south.