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TREES & plants

Cornelian-cherry dogwood

Cornelian-cherry dogwood is a small, 20 to 25 feet 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
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
  • City parkway
  • Wide median
  • Under utility lines
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Shade
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
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
  • 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
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
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.

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.

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

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.