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The cornel has been somewhat forgotten as a fruit tree due to the real cherry. This is unfortunate, because the fruits contain a lot of vitamin C and are also ecologically very valuable due to the early flowering. Worth knowing about cornelian cherries.

The bright red fruits of the cornel are edible

Cornelian cherry facts

  • Botanical name: Cornus mas
  • Common name: yellow dogwood, Herlitze, Dürlitze
  • Origin: local
  • Family: Dogwood family
  • Types: various types, many cultivated forms
  • Distribution: Southern and Central Europe, often occurs in the wild
  • Height: 3 - 8 meters
  • Flowers: golden yellow, spherical umbels, hermaphrodite flowers
  • Scent: light honey scent
  • Leaves: green, occasionally yellow, ovate, smooth-edged. autumn coloring
  • Flowering period: late February to April, long flowering period
  • Fruits: oblong, up to 2, occasionally 4 cm, yellow, red, violet, almost black
  • Harvest time: end of August, September to October
  • Pollination: Cross-pollination by insects
  • Propagation: Cuttings, layering, rarely by sowing
  • Use: Specimen shrub, fruit tree, hedges in gardens and parks

One of the first spring bloomers

The cornel blossoms very early in the year, usually even earlier than the forsythia. The leaves only appear when the tree has withered.

Due to the early flowering, the cornel is the first food source for bees and bumblebees after the winter.

Cornelian cherries are very healthy

Cornus cherries differ from real cherries primarily in their size and shape. The fruits are oblong and are about two and up to four centimeters long in some varieties. Red varieties are very bitter and can hardly be eaten raw, while the almost black cornel cherries taste similar to morello cherries.

Harvest cornel cherries

If you want to harvest cornus for yourself, you have to be faster than the birds. It is best if you put a net over the crown to protect the fruit from the birds. (But you should treat the feathered garden dwellers to a few fruits!)

Harvesting cornelian cherries is not easy. It is best to wait until the fruit is almost overripe. Place a clean cloth (sheet) under the tree and use a stick to knock the fruit off the branches.

Releasing the stones is also very complex. For home use, simply boil the fruit with a stone and then push the mass through a sieve.


In Austria, Cornelian cherries are called Dirndl or Dirndlstrauch. The dirndl schnapps is distilled from it, which is very expensive because of the complex harvest.

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