Cornaceae: a small, spreading deciduous tree to 8m. the leaves are opposite, short-stalked, ovate and pointed. The flowers are in small stalked heads, about 2cm across, these open early in the year, well before the leaves. The fruit is short-stalked, pendulous, bright red, fleshy berries to 2cm, they have an acidic taste. Native to scrub and open woodlands in central and South Eastern Europe, grown in Britain for its winter flowers and edible fruits. Can be found naturalized in Britain.
The fruit can be eaten raw, dried or used in preserves. They are Juicy, with a nice acid flavour, fully ripened fruit have a somewhat plum-like flavour and texture, but the unripe fruit is rather astringent. It is rather low in pectin and so needs to be used with other fruit when making jam.
The bark and the fruit has astringent, febrifuge and nutritive properties. The astringent fruit is a good treatment for bowel complaints and fevers, whilst it is also used in the treatment of cholera.
Seeds of the Cornus mas have a deep dormancy within them, this requires a degree of patience to overcome and it is usually quite easy to get good levels of germination if the correct methods are followed. First pour warm water on to the seeds and leave to cool for around 24 hours. The water must not be too hot or boiling or the seeds will be killed.
Next prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die. Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that there is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated. Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied. Then write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started.
The seeds of this species require a cold period to break the dormancy that is within the seeds. This dormancy is there to prevent the seed from germinating during the autumn and winter when conditions outside would be unsuitable for growth. The breaking of this is easily achieved by placing the prepared bag of seeds in the fridge at (4°C or 39°F) for a period of between 12 and 16 weeks. During this time make sure that the pre-treatment medium does not dry out at any stage or it will be ineffective!
It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up. When the period of pre-treatment has finished the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 1cm deep. For larger quantities it is easiest to sow the seeds in a well prepared seedbed outdoors once the pre-treatment has finished and wait for the seedlings to appear.
It has also been found that fluctuating pre-treatment temperatures that mimic the natural cycle can give the best germination results and I have myself had excellent results by keeping the mixed seeds in a cold shed through the winter for the cold stage of their pre-treatment and allowing the temperature to fluctuate naturally. Ungerminated seeds can have the cold pre-treatment process repeated again to enable more seeds to germinate.
Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25°C). Keep the seedlings well-watered and weed free. Growth in the first year is usually between 15 and 30cm depending on the time of germination and cultural techniques and developing seedlings are usually trouble free. Allow them to grow for 2 or 3 years before planting them in a permanent position.
APPROX. 20 SEEDS
Every order will receive a free packet of seeds as a thank you!
I have had to remove all listings of poisonous plants, which include the nightshade family, and monkshoods. All these plants and more are still available from my store:
ORDERS MAY BE DELAYED TWO OR THREE DAYS DUE TO WORK COMMITMENTS, SO PLEASE BE PATIENT!
ORDERS MADE BETWEEN MARCH - MAY COULD BE DELAYED UP TO A WEEK. THIS IS A VERY BUSY TIME FOR ANYONE ONE IN THIS BUSINESS.
IF YOU ARE THE IMPATIENT TYPE PLEASE LOOK ELSEWHERE!
I LIVE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM NOT THE USA, SO ORDERS WILL TAKE 2-4 WEEKS.
Due to customs issues I do not ship to Brazil!
SHIPPING TO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND ARE AT YOUR OWN RISK, I AM STOPPING THE REFUNDING OF LOST ITEMS TO THESE COUNTRIES!!!
IF YOU FAIL TO GERMINATE YOUR SEEDS PLEASE DON’T LEAVE BAD FEEDBACK, SEEDS ARE ALWAYS FRESH AND TESTED FOR VIABILITY BEFORE LISTING, SO I KNOW THAT THEY DO GERMINATE, IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS PLEASE JUST ASK!!!
PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FOR SEEDS THAT HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE POST, THIS IS NOT MY FAULT AND COMPLETELY OUT OF MY CONTROL, SIMPLY LET ME KNOW AND I WILL HAPPILY RECTIFY THE PROBLEM!