shade metals

Sculpting Dogwood Flowers

Sara & Cesar
 Mexican Flowering Dogwood / Cornus florida urbiniana image: Brendan Lange

Mexican Flowering Dogwood / Cornus florida urbiniana image: Brendan Lange

This rare version of the flowering dogwood only grows in the mountain forests of eastern Mexico. Called the "magic dogwood," the flower stays joined at the tips, and even in full bloom it doesn't open up and lie flat like the dogwoods in the US. 

The flower we see is actually a false flower. From a distance, hundreds of these flowers in bloom on a single tree is quite a site, and a community of these trees together must be amazing. But the real flower is a tiny tiny version in the central buds. That's what the insects are after.  

Intrigued, and wishing I lived somewhere near dogwoods or a forest, I decided to try and sculpt one myself. Each piece usually takes about 30 minutes to sculpt, but the video is about 100x faster.  

 
 
 dogwood flower closeup / image:  EnLorax

dogwood flower closeup / image: EnLorax

 dogwood flower closeup / image:  EnLorax

dogwood flower closeup / image: EnLorax

The delicate bloom of the dogwood is what gives it its fame, but the tree isn't just an ornamental. The name "dogwood" comes from the old English word "dag" which meant to skewer. 

 Kristine Paulus,  CC BY - 2.0  /  NC State

Kristine Paulus, CC BY - 2.0 / NC State

The wood is extrememly dense, and has been used to make daggers, skewers, even at one time golf clubs. 

The first tennis rackets were made from its hard wood, and American pioneers stripped the bark off twigs to scrub and whiten their teeth. First Nations people would boil dogwood bark into teas and decoctions used in traditional medicine.  Strips of wood were woven into baskets and dreamcatchers, and dried fruits were made into cakes.  

Bears, beavers, birds, skunks, squirrels, elks...and many many more animals feed on the dogwood.   There are about 50 different species of the Cornus or Dogwood genus in North America and Europe.