I think that nothing says Appalachian Spring quite like a dogwood tree in full bloom. It’s something that I look forward to so much that I start watching the buds (called “biscuits”) in mid February.
Close up of the Dogwood “biscuits” on February 16th.
I’d be lax in my duties as a representative of Appalachia if I neglected to mention the legend of the Dogwood and it’s relationship with Christian culture in Appalachia.
The legend isn’t biblical and most likely originated in the Eastern United States however it is used to tell the story of the crucifixion of Christ and because the tree is in bloom close to passion week it works well.
Although twisted and knotted dogwood is strong wood and it is dense. It’s wood can have reddish hue which makes for a beautiful walking stick.
A natural purple dye can be made from the bark and wood shavings.
A European cousin to the Dogwood is the cornelian cherry which has a somewhat tart but edible berry that’s much larger than the American dogwood.
Sadly, the beautiful bloom lasts for only a few weeks and even then it’s often beaten and bruised by hard rain in late April and Early May. Some years it’s lost to a killing frost. But while we have it the Dogwood bloom is one of the most wonderful things in the Appalachian Mountains.
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