Cornus mas
Common Name: cornelian cherry dogwood 
Type: Tree
Family: Cornaceae
Native Range: Western Asia, Europe
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, organically rich soils. Promptly remove root suckers to control spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cornus mas, commonly known as cornelian cherry, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that is native to central and southern Europe into western Asia. It typically grows over time to 15-25' tall with a spread to 12-20' wide. Scaly, exfoliating bark develops on mature trunks. Yellow flowers on short stalks bloom in early spring before the leaves emerge in dense, showy, rounded clusters (umbels to 3/4" wide). Each umbel is surrounded at the base by small, yellowish, petaloid bracts which are much less showy than the large decorative bracts found on some other species of dogwood such as Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) and Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood). Ovate to elliptic dark green leaves (to 4" long) typically develop insignificant fall color. Fruits are ellipsoid, fleshy, one-seeded berries (drupes to 5/8" long) which mature to cherry red in mid-summer. Fruits are edible, although sour tasting fresh off the plant. Fruits may be used for making syrups and preserves.

Genus name comes from the Latin word cornus meaning "horn", possibly in reference to the strength and density of the wood. Cornus is also the Latin name for cornelian cherry (Cornus mas). May also be related to the Greek kerasos meaning "cherry".

The specific epithet mas means "masculine" or "male". This name was applied to this plant because it was seen as the opposite of Cornus sanguinea, known as the female or wild cornel.

Common name refers to the cherry-like fruits which resemble in color the semi-precious gemstone carnelian (or cornelian).


Cornus mas is noted for having excellent resistance to dogwood anthracnose and dogwood borer. When properly grown, this dogwood usually has few insect or disease problems. Stressed trees may become vulnerable to borers. Leaf miner, gall midge and scale are less serious potential insect pests. Potential disease problems include dogwood anthracnose, leaf spot, crown canker, root rot, powdery mildew and leaf and twig blight.


Valued for its very early spring bloom. Best as a hedge, screen or foundation plant or as a specimen or grouping in the shrub border. May be naturalized in open woodland or naturalized areas. May also be trained as a small tree.