According to Christian tradition, dogwood blossoms bear the scars of Jesus' crucifixion. The petals are tipped with blood-fringed nail indentations, the flower is cross-shaped, and the center represents the crown of thorns. This symbolism is to compensate for the dogwood being the wood of the cross on which Jesus died.
Because the tree never wanted to be put to such use again, God also twisted and gnarled its trunk and branches so that no straight boards could be made from it. While there is no evidence that the legend is true, the tale persists. The legend of the dogwood blossom is an example of a pourquoi story, a tale that attempts to explain why something has its particular features or characteristics.