In 1753, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus was the first to apply the scientific name Cornus florida to the plant we know as Flowering Dogwood. That simple and straightforward declarative sentence belies the complexity and obscurity of how Linnaeus named this and nearly 6,000 other plants in his seminal work, Species Plantarum. To understand what Linnaeus actually did requires a dive into the arcane world of 18th-century botany. And that is what this article endeavors to accomplish, to explain how Cornus florida, the 2018 VNPS Wildflower of the Year, got its name.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2018 The Quarterly of the Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Sempervirens Quarterly Spring 2018: 5-6.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.