Cornus Officinalis (Japanese cornel dogwood)

ORIGIN AND DIFFUSION: native to China, Japan and Korea

CHARACTERISTICS: It is very similar to Cornus mas, except it grows with a slightly more open habit, flowers one week earlier, has more attractive bark and often has brown hair tufts in the vein axils on the leaf undersides. Ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (to 4 3/4” long). Variable fall color ranges from drab pale yellow to attractive reddish-purple. Yellow flowers appear in late winter to very early spring (usually February-March)before the leaves in 3/4” wide clusters (umbels). Flowers are followed in fall by oblong red fruits (drupes) that are technically edible but astringent. Attracts BirdsExfoliating bark has tones of gray and brown.

CARE: Deciduous shrub Grow in acidic, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Some afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Best performance occurs in cool summer climates. Provide consistent moisture and mulch root zone. Promptly remove root suckers to control spread.

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems.