Cornus controversa

4 Sep

Cornus controversa (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 15m

Eventual Spread: 15m

Hardiness: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Cornaceae

Cornus controversa in Flower (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa in Flower (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa is a deciduous small tree with a tiered, spreading habit. Its glossy mid green leaves are elliptic with wavy entire margins, up to 13cm long and 9cm broad. Its leaves may turn purple in autumn before they fall. Its bark is dark grey to yellow grey. Its branches form a distinctive tiered branch structure. Its fragrant white flowers are up to 8mm across, appear as cymes with red stems and are up to 14cm across. Its round fruit is a blue/ black berry and up to 7mm across.

Cornus controversa Flower (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa Flower (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa, commonly known as Wedding Cake Tree or Giant Dogwood, is native to most of China and Japan. In its native habitat it grows in mixed forest.

Cornus controversa Flower Stalks (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa Flower Stalks (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

The etymological root of the binomial Cornus is from the Latin cornum meaning ‘horn’ due to its dense properties. Controversa is derived from the Latin controversum meaning ‘controversial’.

The landscape architect may find  Cornus controversa useful as a small attractive flowering tree.

Cornus controversa Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Cornus controversa flowers are attractive to pollinating insects. Its fruit are attractive to birds and some mammals.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the variety Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Cornus controversa Bark (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa Bark (22/05/2016, Kew Gardens, London)

Cornus controversa prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It prefers a neutral to acid pH of soil.

Cornus controversa requires little maintenance.

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