This small tree is located southeast of the Divinity School in front of a large magnolia tree and next to the sidewalk that marks the north side of Library Lawn.
Because of its showy, white "flowers
" in spring, flowering dogwood is the most noticeable dogwood species. The "petals" of the inflorescence are actually bracts and not a part of the flowers which are yellow and clustered in the center. Other common dogwood species in this area do not have the showy white bracts. The opposite leaves
of dogwoods are distinctive with their parallel veins curving around to follow the leaf margins toward the pointed tip of the leaf. The bark
of dogwood is easily recognized year-round because of the small, round flakes that cover its surface. The red fruits
of dogwood are also noticeable in the fall and winter.
This very distinctive species is common in the wild throughout Tennessee. It is one of the most popular native ornamental shrubs and is planted many places on Vanderbilt campus. Usually flowering dogwood is seen as a shrub or small tree, but if you are lucky you can be surprised to find tree-sized specimens towering over your head in an undisturbed forest.
This tree is described on p. 34 of The Trees of Vanderbilt
. It was planted in memory of John Keith Benton who died in 1956 and for whom Benton Chapel was named.