Cornelian-cherry dogwood

Flowers of Cornelian-cherry dogwood.

Cornelian-cherry dogwood is a small, 20- to 25-foot-high tree or large shrub that thrives in well-drained urban conditions as a specimen plant, in masses, near a patio, or as a hedge. Tight clusters of small star-shaped yellow flowers bloom in early spring, covering the tree before leaves emerge. Clean, medium-green foliage appears in summer, shortly followed by dark red fruits, ripening in July. The tree is native to Europe and Asia. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name:

Cornus mas

All Common Names:

cornelian-cherry dogwood, corneliancherry dogwood

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Under utility lines

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen,
  • Utility

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

Mature Height:

20-25 feet

Mature Width:

15-20 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Intolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms,
  • Fall color,
  • Edible fruit,
  • Showy fruit,
  • Showy flowers,
  • Attractive bark

Season of Interest:

  • Early spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Mid summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Oval,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

Transplants Well:

  • No


  • Birds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

A tough, adaptable small multi-stemmed tree or large shrub.
Prune in spring after flowering.

Disease, pests and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Bark color and texture 

Bark is an attractive dark gray to reddish brown with scaly,  exfoliating patches for some winter interest.

Corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas)
Corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas)
photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, simple, oval to elliptical, entire with distinct veins, 2 1/2 to 5 inches  long, dark green above, lighter below.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small  (1/8 inch) yellow flowers in tight clusters of about 1 inch wide,  very numerous, appearing before the leaves in early spring.
One of first trees to flower in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Elongated, bright red drupe, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, ripening in late summer.

Cultivars and their differences 

Golden Glory  (Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’): 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide; narrow, upright form.

Location of Cornus mas (Cornelian-cherry dogwood) at the Arboretum