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Reader John Haldane, of the Riceville area of Asheville, N.C., shot this photo, “Pink Dogwood,” of a tree in his east Asheville yard. Taken April 3, 2012, using a Canon 7D camera and a Canon f/2.8 70-200 EX S lens at 1/640 sec at f/8.0.

Editor’s Note

As we can see in John Haldane’s photo, dogwoods are putting on a brilliant show across the mountains right now, offering a gentle reminder — even as the temperature dips — that spring is, in fact, here. offers an interesting look at the dogwood’s importance in the state. It became North Carolina’s state flower in 1941, but not without some competition. Here’s what they say:

Prior to official legislative action, the daisy and the goldenrod were often thought of as state flowers of North Carolina.

National Geographic Magazine listed the daisy as North Carolina’s state flower in April 1917. Indeed, the daisy was a popular flower in the state. Though the July 1936 issue of Flower Grower Magazine cited the oxeye daisy as North Carolina’s state flower, a bill sponsoring the daisy as the official state flower was defeated. The goldenrod was also popularly thought of as the state flower by many in North Carolina but, like the daisy, it’s abundance throughout the state and its support from garden clubs were not enough to make it official.

By the end of the 1930s, a movement had gained steam to adopt an official state flower in North Carolina. The daisy, the goldenrod, the dogwood, the flame azalea, the Venus flytrap (Adopted as North Carolina’s official carnivorous plant in 2005) and even the pinecone were among those considered for the honor.

Because of its abundance throughout the state, the dogwood was able to fend off its most competitive opponent, the flame azalea, at the last minute. On March 15, 1941, the North Carolina Legislature approved the dogwood as the state’s official flower.

Though not specified in the legislation, “Cornus florida,” commonly referred to as the flowering dogwood, is accepted as the species intended as the official flower of North Carolina.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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