Cornelian Cherry

The Cornelian Cherry is a dogwood, not a cherry. Cornus mas is commonly grown from seed rather than vegetatively propagated, and while most sources describe the seed as best when fresh, most sources also seem to indicate that it dry stores decently well for at least a couple of years.

JLHudson’s catalog suggests sowing in the fall to germinate not the following spring, but the spring after that. It also recommends giving 2 months warm moist treatment (or just nick the seeds) followed by 2 to 4 months cold moist treatment.

PFaF recommends stored seed be stratified (cold, moist treatment) for 3-4 months. It also mentions that germination, especially of stored seed, can easily drag out for 18 months. Like The JLHudson catalog, PFaF suggests that a warm period before the cold period and/or scarification might help with germination.

Deno’s work in his second supplement reports good success with sprouting seeds starting with warmth and GA-3 (gibberellic acid), then moving to cool temperatures after 3 months of warm. It goes on to state that all those seedlings eventually rotted. I have GA-3 available, but my results with it have been mixed, and this doesn’t strike me as a situation where it is likely to be terribly useful. His work also makes a reference to oscillating temperatures (warm days, cool nights) being possibly useful. This nests nicely with most of the literature suggesting that the seeds be sown outdoors in spring or fall.

Reich’s own advice for Cornelian Cherry closely parallels that from the JLHudson catalog and from PFaF. Nicking or warm treatment followed by months of cool, moist conditions, with germination being strung out for possibly several spring seasons.

Again I expect to split the packet. The suggestion of nicking the seeds seems to be too common not to do it. One half will be started in fall, late September perhaps, warm, and without nicking. The other half I’ll start in the winter, sometime in December, and I’ll nick those and store them in the fridge. At that time if the first batch hasn’t made any obvious change, I may nick them as well.

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