Japanese cornel is very similar to the popular cornelian-cherry dogwood (Cornus mas). It has the same bright yellow flowers in early spring, followed by oblong cherry-red fruits. Flowering occurs slightly earlier on this species and the form is more open. It can be grown as a large shrub or small tree.
All common names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Under utility lines
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Spring blossoms,
- Edible fruit,
- Showy fruit,
- Showy flowers,
- Attractive bark
Seasons of Interest:
- early spring,
- mid spring,
- late summer,
- early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
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 Japan and Korea.
Bark color and texture
The bark is a mottled mix of gray, brown and orange.
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. Fall color varies from yellow to red.
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 fall.