Cornaceae (dogwood family) Cornus

Cornus capitata evergreen dogwood

Himalayas to southeastern Asia
Mountain Moon evergreen dogwood, Salvatierra Street. Sairus Patel, 7 Jun 2023

A small evergreen tree, leaves a paler green underneath, with prominent ribs. The extraordinary red fruit body is composed of 30 or 40 pink, fused, roughly six-sided fruits each with a stubby, central-style remnant. It is interesting to watch the different stages of development of the fruit, which is eaten in India, starting from a tiny granulated green knob subtended by four bracts whose shadows can be seen long after the bracts fall. The wood was familiar in Greek times for use in javelins, as reported in the Aeneid. See two behind Inner Quad Building 40.

The ‘Mountain Moon’ cultivar, selected from the mountains of Bhutan, has remarkably large creamy bracts. Two can be seen at 668 Salvatierra Street on the right. In Palo Alto, see one behind the low wall at 2297 Harvard Street and another to the left of the entry walkway at 267 Walter Hays Drive.

Name derivation: Cornus – Latin for horn, from the toughness of the wood; capitata – head-like, aggregated into a dense cluster.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. ‘Mountain Moon’ locations added, northwest corner of Lagunita Court location removed (Jan 2024, SP).