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Cornus officinalis is often confused with:
Cornus mas Cornus mas
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Cornus mas Cornus mas
Cornus kousa Cornus kousa
Cornus sericea Cornus sericea (C. stolonifera)

Japanese Cornel Dogwood Cornus officinalis

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Cornus officinalis var. koreana
Description

This deciduous large shrub or small tree has picturesque multi-stemmed, low branches with an open oval to round habit. It prefers acidic well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade, but protection from hot summer afternoon sun.   It can be challenging to find in the nursery trade but it is easy to transplant when young.   It makes a great flowering tree with showy edible fruits, that works well in a woodland garden or naturalized area.  Grown as a shrub you can use it as a foundation planting or a hedge.  

Seasons of Interest:

   Foliage: Fall    Bloom: Summer, early   Fruit: Summer-Fall, red berries   Bark: Winter

Wildlife Value: Fruits are attractive to birds and plants provide nesting sites.  Members of the genus Cornus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Gonandrena) fragilisAndrena (Gonandrena) integraand Andrena (Gonandrena) platyparia.

Insects, Diseases and Other Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Suckering can be weedy, so promptly remove them to avoid spread.

 

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Kintoki'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#birds#small tree#bark#interesting bark#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#cover plant#flowering tree#showy fruits#hedges#specialized bees#multistemmed#deer resistant#shrub border#foundation planting#red fruits#woodland#edible fruits#pollinator plant#naturalized area#glossy fruits#nesting sites#winter bark
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Kintoki'
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#birds#small tree#bark#interesting bark#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#cover plant#flowering tree#showy fruits#hedges#specialized bees#multistemmed#deer resistant#shrub border#foundation planting#red fruits#woodland#edible fruits#pollinator plant#naturalized area#glossy fruits#nesting sites#winter bark
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cornus
    Species:
    officinalis
    Family:
    Cornaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Edibility:
    Fruits are edible but astringent so may be best left for the birds.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Open
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    0.5" shiny, oblong red fruit in clusters summer through fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Bracts
    Flower Description:
    A cluster of short-stalked, yellow flowers with 4 drooping bracts on naked stems in early spring;
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, entire margins, oppostite, elliptic to ovate leaf is 4" long. Brown hairs can be found in the axils of the leaf veins on the underside of the leaves. Fall color is variable from dull yellow to attractive reddish-purple.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Exfoliating brown, gray, and orange bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Weedy