European Cornel | Cornelian Cherry – Cornus mas

European Cornel, Cornus mas is a species of dogwood and member of the Cornaceae family. It is a large shrub, native to southern Europe and south-west Asia also known as “Cornelian Cherry, in North America.


It is a tough, deciduous shrubby fruit tree with dark green leaves, about 7 cm long, creating a dense shade. Masses of little yellow flowers, 5-10 mm in diameter are developed along bare stems in winter, in bunches up of 10-25.

European Cornel Fruit

Ruby red jelly bean formed fruits follow about 2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter, containing a single seed, and bearing a resemblance to coffee berries.Seeds are roasted, ground into a powder and used as a coffee substitute. Also small amounts of edible oil can be extracted from the seeds.

The fruit only fully ripens middle to late summer, after it drops from the tree. It is edible, eaten raw or dried, but with an acidic flavor which is best described as an assortment between sour cherry and cranberry. It’s widely used in northern Greece and Yugoslavian regions for drinks, making a splendid jelly or jam, a first-class sauce similar to cranberry sauce but as well eaten dried. In Armenia the fruit is used for distilling vodka.

The European Cornel grows well in full sun to partial shade. Favors moist, well-drained soils but is adaptable to poor dry soils, various pH, heat, and drought and can endure strong winds. It has virtually no disease or pest problems. Its wood is denser than water implying it does not float. A dyestuff can be developed from its bark.

European Cornel Propagation Methods

Plant propagation is mostly by seed best sown as soon it is extracted from ripe fruit. Additionally, propagation can take place from cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, mature wood of the current year’s growth and Layering of new growth.

european cornel, Cornus mas

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