Did You Know?
The dogwood is an endangered species in Ontario, Canada. It also is the official flower of the North American state of North Carolina, starting from the year 1941.
Myths Associated with the Dogwood Tree
The dogwood (possible word origin: dagwood) tree is significant in Christianity. It is considered to be the tree from which the Cross of Christ was made. In Biblical times, the dogwood tree was supposed to be a huge tree, with a very strong bark, therefore chosen for the sad task of bearing Jesus Christ.
The dogwood tree could not bear the sorrow of being the instrument of Christ's Crucifixion, therefore it asked the Gods for it to be made smaller so it would not be used for such purposes again. Since then, the tree is said to have grown much smaller than it originally was. It was either this or the dogwood was punished for its role in the Crucifixion, and thus diminished in size.
Structure of Dogwood Flowers
The white/red/pink/yellow part of the dogwood flower bloom is commonly mistaken as the petals. In fact, they are not petals. They are actually the bracts, which grow up to 3 cm long. The flowers themselves are too tiny to be seen casually. It is the bracts that everyone ends up tattooing. They come in several colors and shapes.
Symbolism of Dogwood
The flowers in the center are symbolic of the Crown of Thorns. The bracts being four in number, symbolize the four arms of the Cross, and the little notches at the ends of the bracts resemble the skin that bleeds due to being pierced with nails. An American Indian myth tells of a maiden dabbing her wounds with the bracts of the dogwood, when she was attacked by a man she refused.
Significance of Dogwood Flowers as Tattoo Art
Dogwood tattoo designs are one of the most popularly chosen designs for girls, but men can opt for it too. The simplicity and symbolism of this flower makes it an ideal design, be it in color or not, for both sexes. Dogwood tattoo designs can have both religious and non-religious connotations, depending upon the wearer. You can plan your tattoo such that it has only flowers, or you may choose to combine the flowers with any other religious or non-religious symbols.
Some Dogwood Tattoo Designs for Girls
In Simple B&W
Nothing beats classic black and white tattoos. Though a lot of people prefer the tattoo to be colorful, a B&W never falls back. The flowers symbolize love, and you could add animals like butterflies or birds like doves that carry with it the combined meaning of innocent love. A pair of tattoos between partners also denotes undying love in the face of all adversity, so it could be a good idea to get matching dogwood flower tattoos after your wedding.
The Single Flower
A single dogwood flower (bract) could symbolize loneliness and unrequited love, if you believe in Victorian symbolism. Victorian men of the late 19th century gave dogwood flowers to women as a sign of affection. If they were returned, it meant the man's love went unrequited. If you feel the same way despite being a lady, just get it done already! You can add colors like red, since red symbolizes pain and the blood of Christ, for those of you looking for religious symbolism.
Nourishing and Healing Symbols
Dogwood flower tattoos depicting birds/animals feeding from its fruit symbolize the nourishing and caring side of a person who takes care of everyone. In some ways it could symbolize innocence as well. Combine it with an image of your child or loved ones. The plant's fruit is eaten by birds and beasts alike, and its boiled bark is said to be a comfort for dogs' mange, a skin disease affecting both dogs and humans in different ways, thus giving it a touching meaning.
With Other Flowers
You can combine the dogwood flower tattoo with tattoos of other flowers to symbolize different things. Specific combinations with particular flowers could be interpreted collectively. The poppy and dogwood together could symbolize death (poppy) and birth or rebirth (dogwood), thus symbolizing one complete life and death.
There are more than 40 different varieties of dogwood, and if you would like subtle changes in patterns you can opt for other varieties that look slightly different from the North American variety. All in all, dogwood tattoos are brilliant ideas for girls and women, with clean designs, and uncomplicated. The possible meanings of this tattoo are varied, though almost all are positive enough to etch on to skin forever.