Content Detail

Cornelian-cherry dogwood, one of the first trees to flower in spring, is a small, 20 to 25 feet high tree or large shrub. It 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 which ripen in July. The tree is native to Europe and Asia.

  • Family (English) Dogwood
  • Family (botanic) Cornaceae
  • Planting site City parkway, Residential and parks, Under utility lines, Wide median
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 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 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest early spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Oval, Round
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Wildlife Birds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Size and form:

A small oval 20 to 25 feet high tree or large shrub.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to Europe and Asia.

Attracts birds & butterflies:

Many birds eat the fruit.

Bark color and texture:

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

Leaf description:

Leaves are opposite, simple, oval to elliptical, and entire with distinct veins.  Each leaf is 2 1/2 to 5 inches  long, dark green above and lighter below.

Flower description:

Small 1/8 inch yellow flowers in tight clusters of about 1 inch wide are very numerous, appearing before the leaves in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Elongated, bright red drupes of 1/2 to 3/4 inch long ripen in late summer.

Plant care:

A tough, adaptable small multi-stemmed tree or large shrub that thrives in well-drained urban conditions. Prune it in spring after flowering.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

There aren’t any serious problems.

Golden Glory  (Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’):

A 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide cultivar that has a narrow, upright form.


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