Cornus capitata (Evergreen Dogwood, Bentham's Cornel, Himalayan Flowering Dogwood) is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree native to the Himalayas and parts of China. It is valued for its attractive foliage, showy flowers, and ornamental fruit.
The Evergreen Dogwood is a compact tree that typically reaches a height of 6 to 12 meters (20 to 40 feet) with a rounded crown. It has glossy, dark green leaves that are elliptical or ovate in shape and arranged in opposite pairs along the branches. The tree retains its foliage throughout the year, hence the name "Evergreen Dogwood."
Flowers: Evergreen Dogwood produces clusters of small, yellowish-green flowers that are surrounded by four large, showy bracts. The bracts are creamy white to pinkish-white and give the appearance of large petals. The flowers are fragrant and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The flowering period typically occurs in late spring to early summer.
Fruit: After flowering, Evergreen Dogwood develops spherical or ovoid fruits that resemble strawberries, giving rise to its alternative common name, Himalayan Strawberry Tree. The fruits are initially green but mature to a bright red or orange color. While they are not typically consumed by humans, they are edible and can be enjoyed by birds and wildlife.
Habitat and Growing Conditions: Evergreen Dogwood prefers well-drained soil and thrives in full sun to partial shade. It can tolerate a range of soil types, including loam, sandy soil, and acidic soil. It is relatively drought-tolerant once established but benefits from regular watering, especially in dry periods. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10.
Landscape Use: Evergreen Dogwood is often used as an ornamental tree in gardens and landscapes, particularly in regions with milder climates. It can be planted as a specimen tree, in mixed borders, or as part of a woodland garden. Its glossy foliage and showy flowers make it an attractive focal point throughout the year.
Pruning: Pruning of Evergreen Dogwood is generally minimal and primarily focused on maintaining the tree's shape and removing any dead or damaged branches. It is best done during the dormant season, in late winter or early spring, before new growth appears.
Evergreen Dogwood, Cornus capitata, is a beautiful tree with year-round appeal. Its glossy foliage, showy flowers, and decorative fruit make it an attractive addition to gardens and landscapes. With its evergreen nature, it provides ongoing interest and adds a touch of elegance to outdoor spaces.