Herb: Silky Dogwood

Latin name: Cornus amomum

Synonyms: Cornus coerulea, Swida amomum

Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)

Medicinal use of Silky Dogwood:

The dried root-bark is antiperiodic, astringent, stimulant (mild), tonic. The flowers are said to have similar properties. A tea or tincture of the astringent root bark has been used as a quinine substitute and also in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea. It has also been employed in the treatment of painful urination, chest congestion etc. The bark was also used as a poultice on external ulcers and as a wash for gonorrhoea sores. The glycoside "cornin" found in the bark has astringent properties. The fruits are used as a bitter digestive tonic. A tincture of them has been used to restore tone to the stomach in cases of alcoholism.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)


Habitat of the herb:

Swamps and damp thickets. Low woods and along the sides of streams.

Edible parts of Silky Dogwood:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Said to be very good to eat. The fruit is 8mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

The powdered bark is used as a toothpowder.

Propagation of Silky Dogwood:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 - 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more. 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. Layering of new growth in June/July. Takes 9 months.

Cultivation of the herb:

Swamps and damp thickets. Low woods and along the sides of streams.

Known hazards of Cornus amomum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.