The wood from the Dogwood tree is world renowned for its strength and flexibility. Historically, it was often used to make cattle prods, as well as the rims of nets, baskets, skewers, and later tennis rackets. Dogwoods frequently appear in the literature and legends of European history, from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century collection of stories in The Canterbury Tales. Today, the Dogwood tree and its flower (L. cornus florida) are the state tree and flower of Virginia. It is also the state tree of Missouri, and the state flower of North Carolina.