Deciduous, ornamental large shrub/small tree from the Dogwood family, growing to 5m in height. Can be grown in pots, clipped into a formal hedge or used in informal garden or woodland planting. Frost hardy. Tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. The fruit is small but juicy, high in vitamin C, between cranberry and plum in flavour when fully ripe, and can be used raw, dried or in jam or jelly. Distilled into vodka in Eastern Europe, and can also be brined and used like olives. The seeds can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute.
The bark, fruit and flowers have medicinal uses, with a long history of use in Chinese medicine. The wood is very hard and used for turning, and twigs and thin branches can be used in basketry. A valuable early-flowering (late winter/early spring) food source for bees.
Suitable for most soil types including heavy clay and very alkaline soils. Prefers moist soil. Sun or semi-shade, but in Hawke’s Bay semi-shade is probably preferable. Certified organic plant in PB8. Approx height 80-120cm.