Description & Overview

Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory,’ the Golden Glory Dogwood is a cultivar of Corneliancherry Dogwood. This small-scale tree or large shrub features extremely glossy dark green foliage and grows with a much more upright, formal growth habit than the straight species. Cornus mas are among the earliest spring bloomers, showcasing abundant small, bright yellow flowers, followed by edible, bright red cherry-like fruits. The Corneliancherry Dogwood may also be referred to as “cornel.”

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 20-25 feet

Mature Spread: 12-15 feet

Growth Rate: Very Slow

Growth Form: Upright. More formal growth habit than the straight species.

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Adapts well to average soil conditions.

Flower: Bright yellow

Bloom Period: April

Foliage: Glossy dark green

Fall Color: Purple

Urban Approved: No

Fruit Notes: Edible, bright red cherry-like fruits.

Suggested Uses

Golden Glory Dogwood is a small-statured tree or a large multi-stemmed shrub that thrives in full sun to part shade. It’s adaptable to dry and moist locations and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. This tree is valued for its bright yellow flowers that appear in early spring before the leaves emerge, typically flowering more abundantly than the species. The grayish-brown bark becomes scaly on mature individuals and exfoliates, adding an interesting texture to the landscape. The edible fruits will develop and mature in mid-summer.

Golden Glory Dogwood has a relatively narrow and upright form, making it easy to site with limited space. It also features a much more formal-looking growth habit than the straight species Cornus mas.

This dogwood cultivar can be used as an accent, landscape specimen, foundation plant, or in masses as a hedge or screen.

It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, although be wary of areas where road salt is used.

Wildlife Value

All members of the Cornus genus support Andrena fragilis, Andrena platyparia, and Andrena integra, three specialist species of miner bee. Specialist bees have specific relationships with only a few plant species. Some specialist bees forage for pollen only found on a single plant species. Other bees, such as carpenter, cuckoo, and masked bees, pollinate the flowers.

The fruits are a valuable food source for many birds, such as Wood Ducks and Wild Turkey, and mammalian foragers like chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, and skunks.

Maintenance Tips

Caring for this plant is pretty simple as it grows on many sites and can adapt well to different soil types and textures. Golden Glory Corneliancherry Dogwood should be planted in full sun or part shade conditions.

If you want to prune in spring, only prune after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flower buds.

This plant tends to form multiple leaders and suckers from the base. To control the size, you’ll want to prune away any suckers that appear.

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Cornus mas ‘Golden Glory’ is noted to have excellent resistance to dogwood anthracnose and borer. A happy dogwood usually has few insect or disease problems. Stressed individuals may become vulnerable to the dogwood borer.

Leaf miner, gall midge and scale are less serious potential insect pests.

Leaf Lore

The genus name Cornus comes from the Latin word ‘cornu’, which means “horn.” This is in reference to the hardness and durability of the wood. The specific epithet ‘mas‘ is Latin for the word “male” or “masculine.” Cornus mas was named so to help distinguish it from the common dogwood, Cornus sanguinea, occasionally referred to as “the female Cornel.”

Cornus mas are endemic throughout central and southern Europe and into western Asia. It was introduced into cultivation in monastic gardens dating back to the Middle Ages. In 1597, herbalist John Gerard documented, “there be sundry trees of the cornel in gardens of such love rare and dainty plants, whereof I have a tree or two in my garden.”

Corneliancherry is also prominent in classical literature. Publius Ovidius Naso, commonly known as Ovid, a famous Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus Caesar, wrote about Corneiliancherry Dogwood in his well-known work titled Metamorphosis as one of the foods available to humans before agriculture.

We also see mention of this plant in the Odyssey. When the followers of Odysseus are transformed into pigs by the witch Circe, they are fed the fruits of Cornus mas. Panusinias, a famous Greek traveler and geographer of the second century A.D., stated that the legendary Trojan horse was made from the wood of Corneliancherry Dogwood.

The fruit is popularly eaten fresh or processed in eastern Europe and western Asia into jams, syrups, pickles, and alcoholic beverages. A Serbian saying goes, “Zdrav kao dren,” which translates to ‘healthy as a cornel.’

Companion Plants

Consider pairing with flowering perennials for an appealing mix of colors. Potential companion plants include Blazing Star, Geranium, Allium, Solomon’s Seal, Black-eyed Susan, Brunnera, and Astilbe.

Groundcovering plants underneath your Golden Glory Dogwood may include Bird-foot Violet or Spreading Jacob’s Ladder.

If you want to maximize blooms in early spring, consider pairing them with other early spring blooming plants like Vernal Witchhazel, ornamental Cherry, Eastern Redbud, Forsythia, or Magnolia.

Cornus mas 'Golden Glory,' the Golden Glory Dogwood is a cultivar of Corneliancherry Dogwood. This small-scale tree or large shrub features extremely …
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Written by Miles Minter