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New Jersey State Memorial Tree

Dogwood tree flowering in spring; photo by Universal Pops on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Official State Memorial Tree of New Jersey

New Jersey designated the dogwood (Cornus Florida) as the official state memorial tree in 1951 (the northern red oak was adopted as the official state tree in 1950) All State Trees

Concurrent Resolution

WHEREAS, It is the practice of many patriotic and public-spirited organizations and the State of New Jersey, and the State Highway Department , to plant dogwood trees along the border of New Jersey's Memorial Highway known as the "Blue Star Drive" in honor of the men and women in our Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, It is in the public interested and welfare to foster the widespread use of the dogwood as a memorial tree in our parks, parkways, monuments, and building sites; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Assembly of the State of New Jersey (the Senate concurring):

That the dogwood tree (Cornus Florida) be and it is hereby adopted and designated as the New Jersey State Memorial Tree.

Dogwood Tree Facts

The dogwood is a small, deciduous tree with graceful branches that bloom in the spring with large showy flowers (usually greenish-white, sometimes pink or yellow). The dogwood develops red berries in autumn, and the leaves also turn a deep red before falling for winter.

The word dogwood stems from dagwood (from the use of the very hard wood for making 'dags,' or daggers). The wood was also valued for making loom shuttles, arrows, tool handles, and other small items that required a very hard, strong wood. Larger items were also made of dogwood such as the screw for basket-style wine or fruit presses.

An earlier name of the dogwood is the whipple-tree. The name "dog-tree" was being used by 1548, and finally dogwood by 1614. Once the name dogwood was used for the tree, it soon acquired a secondary name as the hound's tree, and the fruit became known as dogberries or houndberries. It is possible that the common name of dogwood developed because dogs were washed with a brew from its bark.