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CORNELIAN CHERRY

Cornus mas

Dogwood Family [Cornaceae]

Flowers:
month8feb month8mar month8march

Leaves:
leaves8apr leaves8april leaves8may leaves8jun leaves8june leaves8jul leaves8july leaves8aug leaves8sep eaves8sept leaves8oct

Berries: berryZpossible        berryZred  (edible, but rarely appears)
berry8jun berry8june berry8aug berry8sep berry8sept

category
category8Trees
 
category
category8Shrubs
 
category
category8Deciduous
 
category
category8Broadleaf
 
status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
type
typeZglobed
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8sweet
sweet
toxicity
toxicityZlowish
 

25th May 2013, canalside woods, Adlington, Leeds &Liverpool, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A shortish widely planted tree or shrub to 4m (but can reach 12m) flowering early spring before any leaves appear.


25th May 2013, canalside woods, Adlington, Leeds &Liverpool, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Covered in small bobbles of clusters of yellow flowers.


25th May 2013, canalside woods, Adlington, Leeds &Liverpool, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A prolific flowerer.


25th March 2009, Whalley, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
Flowers very early in the year well before the leaves.


29th March 2014, Packhorse Bridge, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
About 20 flowering stalks emerge from a central point and radiate out in a hemisphere.


25th May 2013, canalside woods, Adlington, Leeds &Liverpool, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Flowers are small with four yellow petals and four curved stamens with creamy anthers.


29th March 2014, Packhorse Bridge, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The hemisphere of flowers is attached directly to the branches and twigs.


29th March 2014, Packhorse Bridge, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Each flower on the end of the inch-long stalk is yellow with four petals. Behind the convergence of flowering stalks are hour yellowish-green bracts. This year Spring flowers appeared about a month earlier than usual, which is why leaves are starting to appear (top left), the flowers are normally before any leaves.


25th March 2009, Whalley, Lancashire. Photo: © RWD
The bracts are rounded oblong in shape.


6th April 2013, end of canal, MB&BC, Bury, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Sprays of flowers sometimes in pairs on opposite sides of the stem, but also singly on one side. Those on right yet to open.


6th April 2013, end of canal, MB&BC, Bury, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
The petals are not long and narrow as they are in Chinese Witch-Hazel, but short and similar in shape to those of Bedstraws, particularly Lady's Bedstraw.


6th April 2013, end of canal, MB&BC, Bury, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Longish stalks have appressed hairs.


6th April 2013, end of canal, MB&BC, Bury, Gtr Mcr. Photo: © RWD
Flowers with all parts yellow: the four petals, the ovary and the single stigma. Nominally four stamens with cream-coloured pollen.


29th March 2014, Packhorse Bridge, Bury, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The leaves first appear after the flowers like cylinders and in opposite pairs.


25th May 2013, car park, MB&B canal terminus, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The strangely ugly leaves only appear after flowering, which with 2013 having the coldest March since records began, meant later than usual in April/May in that year.


25th May 2013, car park, MB&B canal terminus, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leafy branches are in opposite pairs coming off straight shiny purplish branches.


25th May 2013, car park, MB&B canal terminus, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves peel off the side branches in pairs with a terminal end leaflet.


25th May 2013, car park, MB&B canal terminus, Bury, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Leaves are oval, shiny, wrinkled and curvy, have perhaps nine curved depressed veins and are in pairs. Leaf-stems pale green and slightly hairy.


Autumn, America. Photo: © Janet Davis
The berries are red, shiny and elongated ovaloid. They rarely appear on Cornelian Cherry Trees growing in the UK unless after a long hot summer. Your Author has never espied them. These are on a tree photographed in America.


Some similarities to : Witch Hazel trees such as Chinese Witch-Hazel which is also a tree bearing yellow, 4-petalled flowers very early in the year well before the leaves, but here the flowers are arranged on longish stalks emanating from a single point in a semi-globe. The globed flowers as a whole attaches directly to twigs and branches without stalks in a similar way.

Slight resemblance to : Ivy and Japanese Aralia which has similar semi-globed creamy-yellow flowers.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Cherry trees such as Bird Cherry, Cherry Laurel, Wild Cherry, Dwarf Cherry, Rum Cherry, St. Lucie's Cherry or Cherry-Plum [trees belonging to the Rose Family].

A shrub or small tree up to 4m high. It is mostly planted and is very rarely found growing wild in Britain. Where it is naturalised, it is found in woods and hedges, such as at Hargham, Norfolk. It flowers in February to March, very early in the year and before the leaves have appeared. In the UK the red berried fruit, which is prolate spheroidal in shape, is edible but rarely appears.

The tree is a popular parks and garden tree which also grows wild, but is native in Southern Europe, The Middle East and the Caucasus. Having one of the hardest woods to be found growing in europe it is used in the manufacture of machine parts, tool handles and rifle butts.

The berries are red, and elongated tapering slightly at the petiole end from where they droop. They are appear after the appearance of the very early pale-yellow flowers in late Winter to Early Spring and are similar in colour and shape to the berries of Thunberg's Barberry (Berberis tunbergii) but longer at 2cm long. However, in Northern Europe and the UK the berries will only appear after long hot summers. Tje tree is hardy to -20°C. When ripe the berries are edible and have a rather pleasantly acidic tang. They are used to make both jam and not only summer drinks but also used to flavour liqueurs and spirits in some Eastern Eoropean and Middle East countries. The leaves turn an attractive dark-purple in Autumn.


  Cornus mas  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Cornaceae  

Distribution
 family8Dogwood family8Cornaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Cornus
Cornus
(Dogwoods)

CORNELIAN CHERRY

Cornus mas

Dogwood Family [Cornaceae]

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