Cornelian Cherry

Cornelian Cherry is the common name for European Cornell plants belonging to the dogwood family. They are native to certain regions of Europe and Asia. This species of is better known by its common name in North America. Cornelian Cherries are not real cherry but a species of Dogwood. These berries are edible with a beautiful flavor while the yellow flowered plants are used as ornamental plants.

Cornelian Cherry Scientific Name

The scientific name for these trees is Cornus mas.

Cornelian Cherry Description

The drupe fruits of these trees have one seed situated inside the fleshy part. Ripe fruits resemble coffee berries. Here is a description of these berries:

Size: The length of these fruits ranges between 1 cm and 2 cm while growing around 1.5 cm in diameter.

Shape: The oblong shape of the fruits of these plants resembles that of olive.

Color: They turn a brilliant shade of red when ripe.

Taste: The sweet and sour taste of these fruits can be described as a mixture of sour cherry and cranberry.

Cornelian Cherry Picture
Picture 1 - Cornelian Cherry

Cornelian Cherry Tree

These deciduous trees or shrubs grow somewhere between 5 and 12 meter in height having brown branches and green twigs. They have ovate to oblong opposite leaves growing 4 to 10 cm in length and 2 to 4 cm in breadth. The small flowers grow between 5 and 10 mm in diameter with four light yellow petals. These flowers grow in clusters during late winter with each cluster containing 10 to 25 flowers.

Cornelian Cherry Distribution

These plants mainly grow in the southern regions of Europe as well as the southwestern Asia.

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood Cultivation

It is quite easy to grow these hardy plants from seeds as they require very low maintenance. These deciduous trees live for a long time having an attractive appearance. They are also known to attract pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. These bushy trees have ornamental value and are quite popular with gardeners around the world for their wonderful fruits and beautiful appearance.

Growing Conditions

Soil: These trees grow well in almost all types of garden soil including sandy, loam and clay soils. Well drained moist soil is ideal for their proper growth. Mulching the soil in order to preserve its moisture can be beneficial for the trees.

Soil pH Requirements: The pH level should range from 5.6 to 6.0 for acidic soils, 6.1 to 6.5 for mildly acidic soils and 6.6 to 7.5 for neutral soils for the proper growth of these trees.

Sunlight: They can grow well both in direct sunlight and under light shade.

Fertilizers: These trees do not usually need any fertilizers.

Harvesting

The fruits or berries of these dogwood trees ripen during mid and late summer. They ripen completely only after falling from the tree. The dark red berries are handpicked from under the bushes or trees.

Cornelian Cherry Health Benefits

Many health benefits can be derived from these small fruits. The dark brown or reddish brown bark of these bushy trees also has some benefits to offer. Both the fruits and the bark have astringent and febrifuge properties. Ripe Cornelian Cherry fruits are also highly nutritive.

Cornelian Cherry Nutritional Fact

Here is the nutritional information for 250 ml pure Cornelian Cherry juice:

Name Amounts
Calories 152
Total Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 13 mg
Potassium 530 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37 g
- Dietary Fiber 0 g
- Sugars 27 g
Protein 1 g

Cornelian Cherry Uses

The smooth, sweet fruits of these plants are very popular around the world. They have many edible as well as medicinal uses.

Pictures of Cornelian Cherry
Picture 2 - Cornelian Cherry Picture

Edible Uses

  • These fruits are used for making jam.
  • Cornelian Cherries are pitted and cooked with sugar and orange to make a sauce like the cranberry sauce.
  • These berries are also consumed in their dried form.
  • They are used in distillation of vodka in countries like Azerbaijan and Armenia.
  • These fruits are used to make the alcoholic beverage raki or rakia in Albania.
  • People in Iran and Turkey eat them with salt as a snack during summer.
  • These berries are also traditionally consumed in cold drinks in Iran and Turkey.

Medicinal Uses

  • The fruits of these trees are used for the treatments of fever and various bowel complaints.
  • The astringent properties of the fruits make them useful against cardiovascular diseases.
  • They are also used to cure cholera.
  • The flowers of the Cornelian Cherry bushes are used for treating diarrhea.

Cornelian Cherry Side Effects

There are no known side effects of these berries; however, they may cause some allergic reactions in some people.

How to Store Cornelian Cherry

Fresh ripe Cornelian Cherry can be stored for a few days in a dry zip lock bag under refrigeration. One can also store the ripe berries in their dried form.

Cornelian Cherry Interesting Facts

Find out some interesting facts about the Cornelian Cherry:

  • The fruits of these plants are not cherries. They earned their name from their cherry-like appearance.
  • The flowers of these plants bloom during late winter even before the forsythia flowers. Due to this reason, they are sometimes used as a substitute for forsythia plants in ornamental gardens.
  • The dense and heavy wood from these trees were used to make weapons like bows and spears during the seventh century B.C.
  • Its Greek name was used to denote “spear” in many poetries during the fourth and third centuries B.C.

Cornelian Cherry Availability

The seeds of these trees are available in stores and online. One can buy these seeds or small plants in order to grow the Cornelian Cherry plants in the garden.

Cornelian Cherry Pictures

Here are some images of the attractive Cornelian Cherry plants and their beautiful berries.

Images of Cornelian Cherry
Picture 3 – Cornelian Cherry Image

Photos of Cornelian Cherry
Picture 4 - Cornelian Cherry Photo

The amazing Cornelian Cherries are rapidly increasing in popularity. Despite the fact that they are not true cherries, these fruits are used as substitute for real cherries in many jams and sauces. These beautiful bushy trees are being cultivated by gardeners around the world for their beauty and the delicious fruits.

References:

http://www.unifi.it/ueresgen29/ds10.htm

http://www.aussiegardening.com.au/findplants/plant/Cornus_mas

http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/c/cornus-mas=cornelian-cherry.php

http://easybloom.com/plantlibrary/plant/cornelian-cherry-dogwood-1

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