Tag Archives: Woodsmen of the World

Tree Symbolism

The tree as a symbol of life; regeneration, regrowth and renewal also reflects human fruition or frailty. A common symbol on gravestones a tree can also represent man’s sin with reference to the Garden of Eden. It is also representative of knowledge, life, and time.

A sprouting tree represents a new beginning in the afterlife.

If a tree is felled it reflects death and mortality. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A severed or broken branch symbolizes a life cut short.


A tree trunk denotes the brevity of life, and the number of broken branches can indicate deceased family members buried at the site.


Sometimes the gravestone may be replaced with a ‘tree stone’ in the shape of a tree stump or log sculptured to resemble wood. This symbol is mostly used by the Woodsmen of the World Fraternity. When the trunk is leaning it represents mourning. Sometimes a tree stump will be shown with an ivy plant which often relates to a premature death but can also represent immortality.

Each species of tree has a symbolic meaning:

  • CEDAR TREE: Consecration; Length of days; Strong faith; Success
  • CYPRESS: Death; Eternal life; Hope; Mourning; Sorrow; Roman symbol for mourning
  • DOGWOOD:  Christianity; Divine sacrifice; Resurrection; Triumph of eternal life
  • EVERGREENS: Immortality
  • HAWTHORN: Hope; Merriness; Spring
  • HOLLY: Foresight
  • MULBERRY: I will not survive you
  • OLIVE TREE: Healing faith; Peace
  • OLIVE BRANCH: Forgiveness; Humanity; Peace
  • PINE: Fertility; Fidelity; Regeneration,
  • YEW: Eternal life; Immortality; Sadness
  • WILLOW: Human life


Indian Springs Cemetery

Indian Springs Cemetery, in Punta Gorda, Charlotte County, Florida, was originally named Pineapple River Cemetery. It is an unassuming, flat, open space with few upright headstones considering the size of the cemetery.


Trees in the space are inhabited with sphagnum moss. It reduces the tree’s growth by preventing light from reaching the leaves and slowly sucks the life out of the tree – very sinister and pertinent for a cemetery.


Infant Daughter Lanier born 14 June 1903 died 15 June 1903
Budded on earth to blossom in Heaven
A lamb engraved on the tombstone is a common symbol found on the graves of children.
Note the tiny doll with disconnected limbs – rather creepy!


The image of a man/monk/Saint holding a bible and a cross. A cherub figurine and an upturned shell have been placed at his feet. The shell is not surprising considering that the cemetery is in Florida. Symbolically it represents a journey or pilgrimage.


The tree stump monument with severed limbs represents a life cut short, and is also indicative of the resting place of a member of the Woodsmen of the World Fraternity.


This elaborate metal cross is one of the oldest symbols of Christianity symbolizing Christ’s sacrifice. It is an emblem of faith; salvation; and a symbol of rebirth.