Human Flower Project
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Japan ~ U.S.A.: Dogwood Solidarity
Masashi Yamaguchi returns to report on how the dogwood tree has brought Transpacific gratitude and sympathy. Thank you, Masashi!
Dogwood blossom manhole cover, Minato-ku, Tokyo
By Masashi Yamaguchi
Several years ago, in an article on Japanese cherry blossom trees for Human Flower Project. I wrote that the Japanese government had utilized these trees for promoting international friendship. In 1912, the governor of Tokyo sent 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C., as a token of friendship between Japan and the United States.
Actually the story continued: then-president Howard Taft and his wife Helen sent 50 dogwood trees in return three years later. They were planted as roadside trees and spread all over Japan.
I have heard that dogwood is the state flower of Virginia. It blooms in early May and its flower has four petals (exactly, they are not petals but leaves for decorating real small green flowers). Its habitat is humid places so it needs more water to grow compared with other trees; thus it is called “HANAMIZUKI” (= flowering water tree) in Japanese.