Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture


Foliage: Oval, about 3 inches long; deciduous
Height: About 20 feet
Spread: About 15 feet
Shape: Round to oval multi-stem large shrub or small tree

Main features

Cornelian cherry dogwood is a multi-stem large shrub or small tree depending on how one prunes it. In either case, its main showy characteristic is in February/March at which time it produces numerous small yellow flowers which collectively are quite showy. Fruit that resemble cherries in color and size (but more oval in shape) are abundantly produced in July/August. This is one of the toughest (tolerant of adverse conditions) dogwood species.

Plant Needs

Zone: 4 to 7
Light: Full sun to part shade
Moisture: Average to dry
Soil type: Most soils except those that are poorly-drained
pH range: Acid to alkaline


Cornelian cherry dogwood can be used anywhere a small deciduous tree is appropriate. This species can be used as a hedge (tolerant of pruning), barrier/border plant. Like all small flowering trees, this plant is best viewed with a dark background, such as dark foliaged conifers or broad-leaved evergreens, to make the flowers more conspicuous. Since fruit drop creates a messy situation, plants are best suited for lawns or mulched beds to minimize maintenance.


No special care is needed for this species. Since fruit drop creates a messy situation, plants are
best suited in lawns or mulch beds to minimize maintenance.

Additional Information

There are few cultivars in the trade. Here are a few of the notable ones:

  • ‘Golden Glory’ upright heavy flowering cultivar; good for colder climates
  • ‘Spring Glow’ good flower production and handsome foliage; good for southern climates; very few fruit produced in the south
  • ‘Variegata’ variegated form with cream-white margins; very handsome cultivar; large plants glow in the landscape when planted in front of a dark background

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

November 3, 2010

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