Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were large enough to construct anything substantial. However one type was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood. When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, the workers used this tree to build the crosses for executing criminals.

Groups of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses.

One day a Roman officer came to a group and said, "The King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood." So, a fresh tree was cut from the forest of the trees with a thick trunk and fine, strong wood.

Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazereth, the head wood gatherer got alarming news. "All of our finest trees are withering!". The head wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true.

Seeing one of his workers there, he said, "No one could ever make a cross out of this twisted wood. Our finest trees have gone to the dogs!"

On close inspection, he noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if it were a miniature cross.

Legend has it that, at the time of the crucifixion, Jesus in his gentle pity for the suffering of all, said "Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a gibbet. Henceforth it will be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross with two long and two short petals. In the centre of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red , and in the centre of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember”.