©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
May 2004, Dec. 2005, Aug 2006, Feb 2014, June 2014

Cornus canadensis
Idaho: North-central, Clearwater Natl. For., John Gulch, 46º31.869, 115º39.004, elev. 3,900 ft, mosaic of meadows and forests along streams with frequent patches of Veratrum californicum,  forest of Englemann spruce, grand fir, western red cedar, subalpine fir. 27 July 2011

Cornus glabrata
Marble Mts Wilderness, CA
Lake-of-the-Island, mixed fir and pine forest
5600 ft., July 2006

Cornus glabrata
Jarbidge NV
along forested stream banks.
June 2005
Note:  Differs from C. sericea in leaves
having fewer pairs of lateral veins.


Cornus nuttallii
Kern Co., CA, East slope of Greenhorn Mts.,
Old State Road, 5500 ft, CNPS Chapter Field Trip,
29 May 2014

Cornus nuttallii
Shasta Trinity NF, Trinity Lake
June 1978


Cornus sericea ssp. sericea
Tehachapi Mts, Tejon Ranch,
CNPS Chapter Field Trip, 30 June 2012

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea
(synonym: Cornus stolonifera)
Marble Mts Wilderness, CA
Wooded shore around One-Mile Lake
July 2004


Cornus suecica
Palmer Creek,
Kenai Peninsula, AK
Spjut & Marin15394, Jul 2003


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2013)

Trees; flowers in heads surrounded by large petaloid bracts.............. Cornus nuttallii

Shrubs; flowers in umbrelliform clusters at ends of leafy branches........ Cornus sericea

Cornus nuttallii Audubon 1838. Pacific dogwood, Mountain dogwood. Usually a deciduous tree to 25 m with horizontal branches and leaves; twigs aging red; leaves simple, opposite, broad elliptical to wider above mid region, 2–3× longer than wide, 6–12 cm long, tapered gradually to base and more abruptly to a slender pointed tip, notably with curved (arcuate) parallel veins usually in 4 pairs; flowering Apr–Jul, the flowers conspicuous by the radial large white to pinkish petaloid bracts, 4–6 cm, the actual flowers small and clustered in  heads within the center region of the surrounding bracts that are deciduous; fruit of united red drupelets forming a compound fruit—sorosus.  Mostly shaded slopes of conifer and mixed evergreen forests below 6,000 ft; Idaho to British Columbia south to California, extending along the Coast Ranges to just south of San Francisco, and along the Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges to San Diego Co. Type from Oregon.  Kern Co.: “Scarce along Sandy Spring on the west slope of Sunday Peak,” “near Spout Spring along the highway just west of Greenhorn Summit,” “near Mill Creek on the west slope of Basket Peak” (Twisselmann).  Also, Greenhorn Mountain County Park, NW side of town of Alta Sierra, roadside west of grassy ski lift area (CCH).

Cornus sericea Linnaeus 1767 ssp. sericea [Cornus stolonifera Michaux 1853]. Creek dogwood,  American dogwood, red osier. Large shrub, often in thickets, stems many from base, ascending to erect to 6 bark olive green soon red with white blister-like lenticels, turning gray and cracking with age; leaves simple, opposite, broad elliptic, or wider below the mid region, rounded to petiole, tapering to an acute apex, notably with (4-) 5–6 (-7) pairs of  curved parallel veins, impressed into upper surface; flowering May–Jul; flowers small and numerous on terminal, flat-topped, branched flowering scape-like stems 2–5 cm across; 4-parted, white; fruit a drupe, white.  Moist shady ravines below 9,000 ft, widely distributed from Alaska, across Canada, south to New England, Midwest, Rocky Mts., Cascade Ranges, Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, Inyo-White Mts. , Transverse and Peninsular Ranges.  Red osier thickets in MCV2 recognized when dominant and >5% cover, or >30% relative cover in the shrub canopy, usually with shrubby Salix lasiolepis or S. exigua. Kern Co.: “ Common in the cienega below Mountain Meadow on the east slope of Sunday Peak; rare, mostly in the yellow pine forest, southwest to the head of Back Bob Canyon in the San Emigdio Range” (Twisselmann). Also, Sunday Peak 0.25 mi south of Tulare Co. line, and near the head of Tejon Creek, 4–5 miles south of Tehachapi, 1,066–2,200 m (CCH).

USDA ARS Record of Procurement for Antitumor Active Species of Cornus.


Cornus rugosa

Cornus stolonifera

Cornus stricta

Hatano T., N. Ogawa, R. Kira, T. Yasuhara and T. Okuda. 1989. Tannins of cornaceous plants. I. Cornusiins A, B and C, dimeric monomeric and trimeric hydrolyzable tannins from Cornus officinalis, and orientation of valoneoyl group in related tannins.
Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 37(8): 2083–2090. “
Cornusiin A (1), cornusiin B (2) and cornusiin C (3), new dimeric, monomeric and trimeric hydrolyzable tannins, were isolated from the fruits of Cornus officinalis (Cornaceae). Their structures, including the orientation of the valoneoyl group in 1 and 3, were established on the basis of chemical and spectroscopic data. 2,3-Di-O-galloyl-D-glucose (7), 1,2,3-tri-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose, 1,2,6-tri-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose, 1,2,3,6-tetra-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose, gemin D (5), isoterchebin, tellimagrandin I (6) and tellimagrandin II were also isolated from the fruits. The orientation of the valoneoyl group in camptothin A (14) and that in camptothin B (15), which had been isolated from Camptotheca acuminata (Nyssaceae), were also determined based on that in 1.”

Jeng H., C. M. Wu, S. J. Su and W. C. Chang.  1997. A substance isolated from Cornus officinalis enhances the motility of human sperm.  Am. J. Chin. Med. 25(3-4): 301-306.  “The effects of a Chinese herb, Cornus officinalis, on the motility of human sperm was studied. An aqueous extract was prepared from the dried fruits of the herb and used in this study. The crude extract at a final concentration of 0.5 microgram/microliter in phosphate buffered saline (pH 7.4) increased sperm motility from 25.8 +/- 7.7% to 42.8 +/- 10.3% (i.e. 68% increase, n = 7), as determined by the computer-aided-sperm-analysis (CASA) method. The crude extract was fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) into four fractions: C1, C2, C3 and C4. Their effects on sperm motility were further studied by CASA. Only the C4 fraction showed substantial stimulatory effects on sperm motility. At a concentration of 5 ng/microliter, C4 increased the sperm motility from 15.7 +/- 3.8% to 34.5 +/- 6.4% (i.e. 120% increase, n = 6) by CASA and from 14.9 +/- 4.3 to 28.5 +/- 8.1 (i.e. 91% increase, n = 8) by transmembrane migration ratio (TMMR) method. This result suggests that C4 is the active component in Cornus officinalis that enhances sperm motility.”

Miyazawa M., J. Anzai, J. Fujioka and Y. Isikawa. 2003. Insecticidal compounds against Drosophila melanogaster from Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc.  Nat. Prod. Res. 17(5): 337–339. “Dimethyl malate (1) and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (2) were isolated as insecticidal compounds by bioassay-guided fractionation from MeOH extract of the fruits of Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc. Insecticidal activity against larvae of D. melanogaster was demonstrated: 1 and 2 gave the LC50 value of 6.15 and 11.8 micromol/mL of diet concentration, respectively. Acute toxicity against adults of D. melanogaster, 1 and 2 had the insecticidal activity, with the LD50 value of 21.5 and 34.0 microg/adult.

Vareed S. K., R. E. Schutzki and M. G. Nair.  2006.  Lipid peroxidation, cyclooxygenase enzyme and tumor cell proliferation inhibitory compounds in Cornus kousa fruits.  Phytomedicine:  “The genus Cornus is well known for its medicinal properties. Bioassay-guided isolation and characterization of C. kousa fruits afforded kaempferol 3-O-rhamnoside (1), myricetin 3-O-rhamnoside (2), kaempferol 3-O-glucoside (3), cornin (4) and stenophyllin (5) in addition to ursolic acid and beta-sitosterol. These compounds are isolated for the first time from C. kousa. Compounds 1-5 inhibited Fe(2+) catalyzed lipid peroxidation by 63%, 57%, 61%, 53%, and 51%, at 23, 22, 23, 129, and 108muM, respectively. Similarly, they inhibited COX-1 and -2 enzymes activities by 24% and 47%, 40% and 37%, 20% and 37%, 52% and 63%, and 48% and 55% respectively, at 231, 215, 226, 258, and 217muM, respectively. At 129muM, compound 4 displayed growth inhibition of HCT-116 (colon), MCF-7 (breast), NCI-H460 (lung), SF-268 (central nervous system CNS), and AGS (stomach) human tumor cell lines by 31%, 29%, 40%, 9%, and 28%, respectively. Similarly, compound 5 inhibited the growth of colon, breast, lung, CNS, and stomach tumor cell lines by 0%, 27%, 35%, 16%, and 27%, respectively, at 108muM.

Xu H. Q. and H. P. Hao. 2004. Effects of iridoid total glycoside from Cornus officinalis on prevention of glomerular overexpression of transforming growth factor beta 1 and matrixes in an experimental diabetes model.  Biol. Pharm. Bull. 27(7): 1014–1018. “The present study was conducted to determine whether iridoid total glycoside from Cornus officinalis was effective in regulating expression of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) and preventing overdeposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in a diabetes state. An experimental rat model of diabetic nephropathy (DN) was successfully induced by one intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin at a dose of 60 mg x kg(-1) and maintained for 12 weeks. All rats had free access to standard chow and water. Four groups: normal control, diabetic control, diabetic rats with aminoguanidine treatment and diabetic rats with iridoid total glycoside treatment were used in this experiment. All treatments were administered by intragastric gavage (ig). At the end of the experiment, serum was collected for ELISA determination of TGF-beta1 protein level; renal cortex was dissected for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of its mRNA expression; and immunohistochemistry was introduced to observe ECM deposition. A significantly higher level of protein and mRNA expression of TGF-beta1, and also overdeposition of fibronectin and laminin was found in diabetic rats. Both iridoid total glycoside and aminoguanidine were effective in decreasing serum protein level and glomerular mRNA expression of TGF-beta1, and in preventing renal overdeposition of fibronectin and laminin. This study suggests that iridoid total glycoside is a beneficial agent for prevention and therapy of DN.”