This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Shrubs, small trees, or herbs with usually opposite leaves and hermaphrodite tetramerous flowers with or without an involucre and a 2-celled fruit. There are about twenty-five species in Europe, Asia, and North America. The name is from cornu, a horn, from the hardness of the wood, or perhaps the hard stone of the fruit. We have two indigenous species: C. sanguinea, Dogwood, a shrub with red bark, ovate opposite leaves, and terminal cymes of white flowers without bracts and small black berries; and C. Suecica, an herbaceous plant about 6 inches high with terminal umbels of flowers supported by four white bracts. The former is commoner in the southern, and the latter confined to the northern part of the kingdom.
1. C. mas. Cornelian Cherry. - A small tree, native of Europe, producing its little clusters of yellow flowers in Spring before the leaves. The flowers are surrounded by an involucre of four yellowish bracts. Leaves ovate-acuminate. Berry red. There is a handsome variety with variegated foliage which bears fruit abundantly.
2. C. alba. - A shrub with deep red bark, obovate oblong acuminate leaves, and white flowers followed by white berries. A native of Siberia.
3. C. florida. - A very ornamental little tree with ovate oblong or obovate leaves pubescent beneath. Flowers large, white, with a very large and conspicuous white involucre. Berry scarlet. North America.
4. C. fragifera, syn. Benthamia fragifera. - An evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves and terminal capitate small green flowers; involucre of four large yellowish bracts. In this species the berries grow together, forming a large strawberry-like scarlet fruit. A native of Nepal, and rather tender.
5. C. Canadensis. - An herbaceous species closely resembling the native one, but the upper leaves are much larger, and the flower-head more conspicuous.