Factsheet F18: Cornelian cherry – Cornus mas
Cornelian cherry or Sorbet, Cornus mas, is a member of the dogwood family, and is well known in ornamental gardens for its cheerful yellow flowers in late winter. It is native to central and southern Europe, Asia minor, Armenia and the Caucasus in dry deciduous forests and brushlands.
It has been cultivated for centuries, and is still cultivated is some parts of Europe for its fruits (notably Turkey, Russia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia). It was well known to the Greeks and Romans, and grown in monastery gardens in Europe through the middle ages; it was introduced to Britain by the 16th century. By the 18th century, it was common in English gardens, where it was grown for its fruits, sometimes called cornel plums. It is now naturalised in Britain.