Shrubs, undershrubs or trees, with simple opposite, verticillate or alternate, usually entire leaves, and regular perfect polygamous or dioecious flowers in cymes, heads or rarely solitary. Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, its limb 4-5-dentate, or none. Petals generally 4 or 5, sometimes wanting, valvate or imbricate, spreading, inserted at the base of the epigynous disc. Stamens as many as the petals or more numerous, inserted with them; filaments subulate or flat. Ovary inferior, 1-2-celled in our species; style 1, short or elongated; ovules 1 in each cavity, pendulous, anatropous. Fruit a drupe, the stone 1-2-celled, 1-2-seeded. Seeds oblong; embryo nearly as long as the endosperm; cotyledons foliaceous.

About 16 genera and 85 species, most abundant in the northern hemisphere. Flowers perfect. 4-parted: ovary 2-celled.

Flowers cymose, not involucrate.



Flowers capitate, invohicrate by 4 large white bracts.

Trees or shrubs.



Undershrubs with creeping rootstocks.



Flowers polygamous or dioecious; petals minute or none; ovary 1-celled.



1. CÓRNUS [Tourn.] L. Sp. Pl. 117. 1753.

Shrubs or trees, with simple mostly entire opposite verticillate or rarely alternate leaves, and small white greenish or purple flowers, in cymes. Calyx-tube top-shaped or campanulate, its limb minutely 4-toothed. Petals 4, valvate. Stamens 4. Ovary 2-celled; stigma truncate or capitate; ovules 1 in each cavity. Drupe ovoid or globular, the stone 2-celled and 2-seeded. [Greek, horn, from the toughness of the wood.]

About 20 species, natives of the north temperate zone, Mexico and Peru. Besides the following, 3 or 4 others occur in western North America. Type species: Cornus Mas L. Leaves opposite.

Leaves downy-pubescent beneath, at least when young (sometimes clabrate in No. 2).

Leaves broadly ovate or orbicular; fruit blue.


C. rugosa.

Leaves ovate or ovate-lanceolate.

Fruit blue; stone pointed at the base.


C. Amomutn.

Fruit white.

Fruit 1 1/2" in diameter, the stone longer than broad.


C. Priceae.

Fruit 3" in diameter, the stone broader than long or as broad.

Leaves scabrous above.


C. asperifolia.

Leaves not scabrous.


C. Baileyi.

Leaves glabrate, or minutely appressed-pubescent beneath.

Leaves ovate, short-pointed; twigs purple.


C. stolonifera.

Leaves ovate-lanceolate, acuminate.

Fruit white; twigs grey.


C. femina.

Fruit pale blue; twigs reddish.


C. stricta.

Leaves alternate, clustered at the ends of the flowering branches; fruit blue.


C. alternifolia.