Herb: Bentham's Cornel


Latin name: Cornus capitata


Synonyms: Benthamia capitata, Benthamia fragifera, Benthamidia capitata, Dendrobenthamia capitata


Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)



Medicinal use of Bentham's Cornel:

The bark is used medicinally. No further information is given, though the bark is a source of tannin which is used as an astringent.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
12 m
(39 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Forests and shrubberies to 3400 metres in the Himalayas. Moist hillsides at elevations of 1700 - 2600 metres in Nepal. Evergreen and mixed forests, 1000 - 3200 metres.

Edible parts of Bentham's Cornel:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A bitter-sweet flavour, tasting like an over-ripe banana. The fruit can also be used in preserves. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter, it is fleshy with a number of seeds and a tough slightly bitter skin. Our experience is that some trees can produce quite pleasant tasting fruits, but many others produce fruit with a distinct and unpleasant bitterness. The fruit ripens in late autumn to early winter and will fail to ripe properly if the weather is very cold.

Other uses of the herb:

The branches and leaves are a source of tannin. Wood - very hard, close grained but warps when being seasoned. Used mainly for fuel.

Propagation of Bentham's Cornel:

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:

Forests and shrubberies to 3400 metres in the Himalayas. Moist hillsides at elevations of 1700 - 2600 metres in Nepal. Evergreen and mixed forests, 1000 - 3200 metres.

Known hazards of Cornus capitata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.