Dogwood Wine

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25 Dec 2000
Scientific Name:

Cronus kousa (Buerger ex Miq.) Hance

Common Name: Dogwood, Kousa, Cornel
Plant Family: CORNACEAE

Many people would have tasted a fruity wine but have any of you tasted dogwood wine? Cornus species are widely grown for their ornamental value; however, they also have several economic uses. The fruits are used for preserves and there is also an alcoholic beverage made in France known as 'vin de cornouille'. Roughly translated it is 'wine made of or from the cornel-berry'. The wood of some Cornus species has been used for making furniture, agricultural implements and for making the bobbins and shuttles for weaving.

The name for Cornus is said to have originally come from the Latin cornus meaning 'a horn', referring to the hardwood of one of the species of Cornus. It is also stated that Cornus is the Latin name for the species Cornus mas, a species that occurs in Europe, and commonly known as the Cornelian cherry or sorbet. This last explanation for the name could then confirm the use of Cornus fruit for wine making.

Dogwoods are cultivated widely for their ornamental effects. Cornus kousa in particular has a stunning display with its flower bracts that change colour from white through to pink. Many other Cornus have brilliant autumn foliage, handsome fruits and colourful stems ranging from yellow through brilliant crimson to almost black-purple. Cornus kousa can be found on the left of the steps leading up to the Herb and Formal gardens opposite the entrance to the Visitors Centre. Could you find a place in your garden for one of these cool temperate plants?

Keith Naylor Records Officer