Cornus capitata
Common Name: evergreen dogwood
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Cornaceae
Native Range: Himalayas, China
Zone: 8 to 9
Height: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Creamy white to pale yellow bracts
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained, sandy soils in full sun to part shade. This tree is winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-9. Its best growth is in sheltered western coastal areas. It dislikes the heat and humidity of the southeastern U. S. It will not grow in the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cornus capitata is an evergreen to semi-evergreen tree or shrub that is native to the Himalayas, northern India and China. As a tree, it typically grows to 20-40’ tall. Ovate to lanceolate, evergreen leaves (to 4-5” long) are leathery and rough to the touch. Leaves are dark green above and gray-green below. Some older leaves turn purplish or reddish tones in fall, eventually dropping in spring as new growth appears. This dogwood is not considered to be reliably evergreen because its foliage may drop in cold winters in the colder areas of its growing region. Flowers bloom in late spring to early summer (June-July). The showy parts of the dogwood “flower” are the four (infrequently 6), pointed, petal-like, bracts (each to 1.5” x 3.0”) that surround a center cluster of insignificant, greenish-white, true flowers. Bracts are creamy white to pale yellow. Flowers are followed by fleshy, edible, strawberry-like berries that ripen in clusters in fall. In addition to being a good food source for birds, the fruit is also ornamentally attractive. This dogwood is also commonly called Himalayan strawberry tree in reference to the fruits. Genus name comes from the Latin word cornu meaning horn in reference to the toughness of the wood. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word caput meaning head in reference to the mounding flowers and fruits.

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems. This tree does not appear to suffer from the anthracnose problems that have devastated planting of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) in some geographic areas.

Garden Uses

Plant as a specimen or in small groupings on residential property around homes, near patios or in lawns. Also effective in shrub borders, woodland gardens, bird gardens or naturalized areas.