What are cornelian cherries?
The cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) is actually a species of dogwood. It is also referred to as cornelian cherry dogwood. The cornelian cherry dogwood is an adaptable, durable, and relatively pest-free small tree. Plants commonly grow 20 to 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. The cornelian cherry dogwood produces small, yellow flowers in round, 3/4-inch-wide clusters in early spring. After flowering, oblong ½- to 1-inch-long berry-like fruit develop. The fruit turn cherry red in late summer and are edible. The fruit are similar in taste to tart cherries and can be used for jams, jellies, pies, syrups, and wine. The fruit are high in vitamin C. Cornelian cherry dogwoods are most commonly planted as ornamentals in home landscapes. However, several cultivars (‘Elegant,’ ‘Red Star,’ ‘Pioneer,’ and others) are grown for their fruit. The cornelian cherry dogwood is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 8.