Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)

Swida sanguinea. Thelycrania sanguinea.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cornus sanguinea

The seed contains 45% of a non-drying oil[74], it is used in soap making and lighting[7, 13, 100, 115, 177].

A non-drying oil is also obtained from the pericarp, it is used for lighting[74]. The pericarp contains 19 – 35% oil[74].

A greenish-blue dye is obtained from the fruit[13, 74].

The young stems are very flexible and are used in basketry[7, 13, 74, 100].

Wood – tough, hard. Used for small items such as tool handles, turnery etc[11, 61, 115]. A good quality charcoal is obtained from the wood[115], the wood also makes an excellent fuel[115].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bark is astringent and febrifuge[7]. It is used to treat fevers[254].

    The leaves are sometimes used externally as an astringent[7].

    The fruit is emetic[7].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[105]. A bitter flavour, it can also have an emetic effect on the body[1, 7, 11]. It is not worthwhile[115]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter[200].

    An oil is obtained from the seed[2], it is edible when refined[75].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Contrary to some reports, the fruit is not poisonous, but the leaves can cause skin irritations to sensitive people[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed[80, 113]. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors[80, 164]. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 – 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year[164]. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification[80, 164]. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more[164]. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, taken with a heel if possible, autumn in a cold frame. High percentage[78]. Layering of new growth in June/July. Takes 9 months[78].
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil of good or moderate fertility[1], ranging from acid to shallow chalk[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are relatively shade tolerant, though they are not happy when growing in dense shade[186]. They grow badly when exposed to strong cold winds[186]. Plants are hardy to about -25¡c[184]. The flowers have a rather unpleasant smell to most people, though they are attractive to insects[186]. Plants have a suckering habit and can quickly form dense thickets[186]. They can be coppiced regularly and will throw up long straight stems after being cut back[186]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia to Spain, east to Sicily and Greece. Rare in S.W. Asia..

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.