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Plant Library


Japanese Cornelian Dogwood

Cornus officinalis

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Japanese Cornelian Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) at Country Basket Garden Centre

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood flowers

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) at Country Basket Garden Centre

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood in bloom

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  25 feet

Spread:  20 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b


A small accent tree which features exceptionally showy yellow flowers in very early spring, well ahead of the leaves; the rest of the year features showy mottled bark and a neat growth habit, quite adaptable; great for early spring color

Ornamental Features

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood has clusters of yellow flowers along the branches from late winter to early spring before the leaves. It has dark green deciduous foliage. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall colour. It produces red berries in late summer. The mottled brown bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest.

Landscape Attributes

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood is an open multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a shapely oval form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Japanese Cornelian Dogwood will grow to be about 25 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Screening  Garden 
Flowers  Fruit  Bark  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features