Cornus officinalis, Japanese Cornel cherry

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seeds of Cornus officinalis

A dogwood species called Japanese Cornel or Japanese Cornelian Cherry looks very similar to the native Cornus mas and has the scientific name Cornus officinalis. It is originated in the east of Asia and went to the north to Korea and Japan, where it grows in the scrub of forests, borders of the wood or at shrubbery.

On umbrageous places it grows in the manner of trees with just one stem and tall size. When it is growing on a sunny place it becomes shrubby with many stems and lots of branches. They can grow up to a size of four to ten meters with some grey to brown colored bark falling down from elder branches and stems. The oval shaped leaves have a dark green upper side and shiny surface, whereas the bottom side is more bright. In autumn the leaves get a red to brown color before they fall off the tree. In spring from March to April little fragrant blossoms grow in the branches ordered in little umbels. In August to September bright red and purpur fruits get visible and make a perfect contrast to the dark green leaves. The drupes are edible and very healthy because of their high content of ascorbic acid.

Place the Japanese Cornel to the sunlight with sandy or loamy soil. The tree is a frost resistant species with frost tolerance down to minus 29 degrees. In chinese medicine the Japanese Cornel is used as tonic or astringent fort the prevention of liver and kidney. Because of the fruits containing oleanolic acid and ursolic acid with protective effects on auditory cells they are used for the treatment of inner ear diseases like tinnitus and hearing loss. They also have anti-inflammatory effects.

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