Alternate leaved Dogwood (sold) | Richard G. Tiberius

Alternate leaved Dogwood (sold)  |  Richard G. Tiberius

18 x 24 in | 45.7 x 61 cm

My daughter thought that this painting was the perfect backdrop for a fairy scene. There was something otherworldly about the scene when I first saw it. After a very rainy night in our tent my wife and I packed our soggy stuff and ascended the mountain trail. When the rain stopped we looked over the edge of the trail and peered into the fog-shrouded woods. Every leaf and stem was still glistening with water. Three dogwood trees, at the edge of a mountain trail, caught my eye. They were like jewels. The moisture-filtered light accentuated the greens.

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The bark, which is reddish even on a dry day, took on a deep maroon color when soaked with rain. They are called “pagoda dogwoods” because the branches form graceful tiers like the ancient houses in Asia. Both their English and botanical names are derived from the unusual alternating pattern of the branches on the trunk—the Alternate-Leaf Dogwood and Cornus alternifolia.

The Alternate-Leaf Dogwood does not have the large, white flowers of the Eastern Flowering Dogwoods that are common as garden plantings, but it is hardier. It can be found as far north as Southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. We encountered this particular trio on a slope high up in the Smoky Mountains, in Eastern Tennessee. At this elevation the flora of the Southern Appalachians are similar to that found much further North.

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