Cornus mas

Cornelian Cherry

cornus-mas

Cornelian Cherry is a dogwood relative that is a beacon of light in the gloomy days of early spring.  It is rare to find a yellow blooming tree and since Cornus mas bloom so early, the blooms last an extra long time- up to two months.  Blooming so early means they may be susceptible to a late spring frost if it coincides with the blooms emerging but once open they can take the occasional freeze.  The small yellow inflorescences just glow in the low light of spring and look especially good with a dark green background of pines or doug firs.  Like most dogwoods they do best in dappled light or as an understory tree but these species seem to take more sun than a regular dogwood.  We have observed some in full sun in the Rogue Valley surviving just fine.  After the flower show, small, shiny, oval leaves with a curved margin emerge and get yellow or red/purple fall color.  More interesting are the red, oblong, up to 3/4", fruits that come on in the fall and hang on until birds feed on them.  They are edible, best for preserves as they are a bit sour.  The Cornelian Cherry is a great choice for a small, disease and pest resistant tree that provides multi-season interest and easy care.  They typically will get 15-20' wide and tall at a slow to medium growth rate.

There is a beautiful specimen at the OSU Extension Office on Hanley Rd. in Central Point.