Bentham’s Cornel (cornus capitata) — also called Himalayan Strawberry Tree and Evergreen Dogwood — is an evergreen originating in western China, Nepal and the Himalayan region.
This plant, which can be grown in zones 8 and 9, has the potential to reach a height of some 40 feet. It prefers full sun but can tolerate light shade. It also can survive in mild maritime conditions. As an ornamental, it benefits from sandy, loamy soil but can also grow in heavy clay soil. It would make a stunning addition to any coastal or cottage gardens.
Bentham’s Cornel produces stunning creamy white flowers from June to July that give way to vibrant red strawberry-shaped fruit in late fall, which attracts birds and other wildlife. The flowers contains both male and female organs, and are heavily pollinated by garden-friendly bees.
Although this beauty can be sown from dried seed after both warm and cold stratification has occurred, be forewarned…the seeds have a very long germination period (18 or more months). Alternatively, cuttings can be taken from side shoots in late summer (half ripe with a heel) and usually show new growth with 9 months.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, hardy plant to add to your garden or landscape to take center stage as a large shrub (with pruning) or left to blossom into a full-blown tree, Bentham’s Cornel fits the bill.