On March 15, 1941, the North Carolina State Legislature adopted the dogwood as the official state flower. They failed to specify, however, which of the 110 species of dogwood that was to be adopted! Cornus florida, the flowering dogwood, is today accepted as our state flower; widely planted and admired in our cities, this beautiful tree has become a commonly recognized symbol of North Carolina.
The dogwoods are threatened by a fungal disease called dogwood anthracnose, which causes leaf loss and eventually tree death. The disease has spread throughout the southern Appalachians and affected nearly the entire western half of North Carolina. By studying their genetic variation and evolutionary history, our research aids conservation planning and helps preserve the future of our native dogwoods
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