Content Detail

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

  • 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 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 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Open
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Transplants well No
  • Planting considerations May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Wildlife Birds
  • Has cultivars Yes

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Japanese cornel is 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: 

The leaves are opposite, simple, oval to elliptical, and entire, with distinct veins. They are 2 1/2 to 5 inches long, dark green above, and lighter below. Fall color varies from yellow to red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

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

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The fruit is an elongated, bright red, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long drupe which ripens in fall.

Plant care: 

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

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

This plant has no serious problems.


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