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Cornus mas - Cornelian Cherry

Cornus mas is a deciduous shrub or small tree, growing to approximately 6m height.

The plants first display is in early spring when it produces masses of small yellow flowers before the leaves shoot. In summer the foliage is green and ovate until autumn brings displays of yellow, oranges and red.

Also in Autumn are the cherry sized edible fruits, ripening to red then almost black. The fruit is slightly acidic so is often used for jams, sauces or as a dried snack.

The bark of Cornus mas is also interesting, with older trees developing scaly plates of orange and brown. The wood is extremely dense and so historically has been used for tools, spears, bows etc.

FACT: The wood of Cornus mas is extremely dense, this means that unlike most wood it sinks in water.

Plant Profile

Name: Cornus mas

Common Name: Cornelian Cherry

Family: Cornaceae

Height: 3-6m high

Demands: Suitable for most locations. Doesn’t tolerate soil compaction.

Foliage: Elliptical green leaves with good autumn colour

Flower: Clusters of small yellow flowers very early in the year

Bark: Attractive, scaly on mature plants

Fruit: Red-black cherry sized fruits in autumn

Cornus mas info sheet

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