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Cornus amomum Mill.

Modern name

Cornus amomum Mill.


Swida amomum (Mill.) Small

A deciduous shrub of compact habit, up to 10 ft high; young bark downy, becoming purple. Leaves ovate, mostly rounded at the base, with short, abrupt points; 2 to 4 in. long, 1 to 214 in. wide; dark green and soon becoming glabrous above, paler and with silky down beneath, especially on the veins, the down often becoming rusty or tawny, stalks similarly downy, 14 to 23 in. long; veins in four to seven pairs. Flowers small, yellowish white, produced in July in cymes 112 to 212 in. across. Fruit 14 in. across, pale blue.

Native of eastern N. America; introduced in 1683. A shrub thriving well in our climate, but of no especial value. Its distinctive characters are its purple young wood with brown pith, the silky reddish down beneath the leaf, and the pale blue fruits.

C. obliqua Raf. C. purpusii Koehne – A close ally of C. amomum, it is found in the same region. The leaves are narrower, glaucous and grey-white with down beneath (not rust-coloured), veins in about five pairs. Young shoots yellowish red to purplish. Fruit dull blue. Introduced about 1889, but perhaps in cultivation before as C. amomum. It is of looser, less compact habit than that species.



Other species in the genus