Cornelian cherries are some of the first trees to bloom in the park. Their clusters of star-shaped yellow flowers emerge at the start of spring. A member of the dogwood family, Cornelian cherries usually grow to around 25 feet high. They grow vertically as young trees but spread into a broad arch over time. With a dense network of branches, their foliage appears in early summer, followed by dark red fruit.
While these fruits are not technically cherries, they have been used in cooking for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians all mention them as edible ingredients in their texts. With a long history of cultivation, there are many ways to eat and prepare them. They can be eaten raw or dried, and are used in making wine, liqueur, and candy. In fact, cornelian cherries are still part of traditional cuisines in both Greece and Turkey.