The Curse of the Dogwood Tree

Feb 10, 2010Updated 1 month ago

Dogwood Flower
It was said that the dogwood tree was larger and stronger during Jesus’ time, more so than it is today. It was thought to be the largest tree in the area of Jerusalem. After his crucifixion, the story goes, Jesus changed the tree to its current form. It is said Jesus shortened the tree and twisted its branches to ensure an end to its use for the building of crosses.

The Legend of the Dogwood

Legend also says He transformed its flower into a representation of the crucifixion itself, with the four white bracts cross-shaped, which represent the four corners of the cross, each bearing a rusty indentation of a nail. The red stamens of the flower represent Jesus' crown of thorns, and the clustered red fruit represent his blood.

Said by some unbelievers to be a coincidence, the dogwood blooms in April when Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Christ after the Crucifixion.

This is how the story goes. (The source of the story is unknown)

Two thousand years ago, trees in the Middle East were not big enough to construct anything substantial. . However, one tree was found to be useful with its thick trunk and fine, strong wood. When the Romans began to rule over Jerusalem, they searched for wood that would be suitable for building crosses on which to execute criminals. Crucifixion was the way the Roman chosen form of execution. A group of labourers were sent to find and gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew that the men who regularly gathered the wood for the crosses had found the best wood for the job.

One day a special request went out to the wood gatherers. An officer of the Roman court said to them

"The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood."

So it was that a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. A special cross was quickly made that was taller than usual, and very heavy.

Three days after the death of Jesus, the chief wood gatherer received some disturbing news.

"All of our finest trees are withering!" the messenger told him.

The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was, indeed, the case. Several years later, the chief wood gatherer heard that every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite being quite old and frail, he set out to discover why people were visiting the forest. He saw the remains of the forest, now with only a few trees still standing tall, baked, lifeless and rotting.

As he drew closer, his tired eyes could just make out the people walking among thousands of beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his former workers there, the old man said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross.

Because the source of this story is unknown, it is not possible to say the legend is based on fact. It could well be fanciful and the product of someone's imagination. The reader can only consider the story and make their own decision.

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