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Cornelian Cherry

Introduction of Cornelian cherry

            Scientific name - Cornus mas

Botanically known as Cornus mas, cornelian cherry belongs to the dogwood family scientifically known as cornaceae. This fruit with popular names such as Cornelian cherry, European cornel or Cornelian cherry dogwood is a class of flowering plant in the dogwood family. Having its roots native to southern Europe this plant can be prominently found in the lands of France to Ukraine. Also this tree has shown its presence in south western Asia. Regions of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon and Syria have also witnessed the growth of its vegetation.

Being an ornamental plant with attractive flowers this plant appears to have leaves that grow opposite to each other, growing 410 cm long and 2-4 cm broad, the shape of a cornelian cherry is an ovate to oblong shape and an entire margin.

The flowers borne by this plant are small (5-10 mm diameter), with four yellow petals, produced in clusters of 10-25 together in the late winter, well before the leaves appear. These flowers are a source of food to the bees and are also resistant to fungal attacks caused by the honey.

The fruit is a monocotyledon that appears to have an oblong shaped red dupe growing2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter. The berries when ripe on the plant bear analikeness to coffee berries, and ripen in mid- to late summer. The fruit is edible, but the unripe fruit is caustic. The fruit only fully ripens after it falls from the tree. When ripe, the fruit is dark ruby red or a bright yellow. It has an acidic flavor which is best termed as a blend of cranberry and sour cherry.

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Nutritional Value of Cornelian cherry

Calories 152
Total Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 13 mg
Potassium 530 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 27 g
Protein 4%

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Uses of Cornelian cherry

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The utility of this plant is highly accepted and appreciated across the globe. They are used as a key ingredient for making zesty jam. Owing to its similar taste to that of cranberry, Cornelian Cherries are deseeded and cooked with sugar and orange to prepare a sauce like the cranberry sauce. These berries are also consumed in their dried form.

Used in distillation of vodka in countries like Azerbaijan and Armenia, this fruit has made its prominence felt in the beverage industry. Having said that this fruit is used to make the alcoholic beverage raki or rakia in Albania.

It is consumed as a snack with salt by people in Iran and Turkey during summer. These berries are also traditionally consumed in cold drinks in Iran and Turkey.

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Health benefits of Cornelian cherry

This fruit is not just limited to its edible goodness, cornelian cherry is a house of medical properties and nutrients. This fruit is an astringent causing the contraction of body muscles or tissues in case of excessive bleeding, it is also a febrifuge that helps in reducing the impact of fever and brings down the body temperature to normalcy. The bark and fruit are also nutritive and helps in restoring the lost nutrients of the body.

The astringent property of the fruit acts as a good treatment for bowel complaints and fevers, at the same time as it is also used in the treatment of cholera. The flowers of cornelian cherry are used in the treatment of diarrhea.

various diseases and health conditions such as aching lower back and knees, vertigo, tinnitus, spermatorrhea, frequent urination, liver-deficiency chills and fever, persistent sweating due to deficiency, palpitations, scattered pulse, neurasthenia, menstrual disorders, and more can be taken care of by the properties of the cornelian cherry plant.

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Growth and Cultivation details

Cornelian cherry comes across as a convenient plant, convenient in the matters of its growth condition. It does not require high on maintenance care to ensure good productivity. This easy growing plants prospers it in any soil of good or adequate fertility, ranging from acid to shallow chalk. Best results are noticed in plants that grow well in heavy clay soils.

As a matter of preference this plant is an extremely positively phototropic plant, in presence of moist soil and adequate amount of sun light this plant is believed to strive the best. Having said that this plant also dwells in light shady areas in absence of scorching sun light. Cornelian cherry is a tough and sturdy plant that is fairly wind resistant. They are planted in pots during their initial stages and crop well in the same place. Owing to its sturdy nature these plants can survive low temperature; as low as -25c.

Once upon a time cornelian cherry was cultivated in large masses for its fruit, unfortunately this use has lost its importance or is duly neglected in most regions.

While is presence can still be seen in parts of Europe where different varieties of it are cultivated to meet the needs of its consumers. The names of a few to mention are as follows; The 'Macrocarpa' variety has larger fruits when compared to other type. Another popular variety is 'Nana', a dwarf form, resultant of a yellow-fruited clone. Variegata turns out to be the winner of all varieties as in my of the occasions when other varieties fail to crop this species fruits well. Jalico a well flavored fruit turns out to be triple the size of the usual variant.

Apart from the ones that is mentioned there are varied other cultivars bearing yellow, white and purplish fruits.

This plant can be propagated in two methods, on being the germination of the seedling which sometimes might take upto Seedlings can take up to 20 years to come into fruit.

While the other method of propagating this plant is by using the cutting and grafting method which helps earlier fruiting but does not survive as long as the one propagated from seeds.

Also grown as an ornamental plant this plant flowers quite early in the year and is a good source of valuable early food for bees. Adding on to its properties the Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

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