Blooming now around town is the Cornelian cherry dogwood (Cornus mas). This specimen is on the Blackstone Boulevard walking path. Described as either a large shrub or small tree, this member of the dogwood family is often confused with another early bloomer, witch hazel. But the Cornelian cherry has much shorter petals, tightly bunched up.
It’s a lovely little tree whose bright red edible fruits add to its value in the landscape.
When ripe, the fruit is dark ruby red or a bright yellow. It has an acidic flavor which is best described as a mixture of cranberry and sour cherry; it is mainly used for making jam, makes an excellent sauce similar to cranberry sauce when pitted, and then boiled with sugar and orange, but also can be eaten dried.
Since we can’t go anywhere crowded right now, head outside and take a walk and think about planting more trees in your landscape. Check out the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP), an organization that gives away free trees to groups of Providence residents and/or business owners.
The program is an opportunity each spring and fall for a group of residents/business-owners to apply to receive 5-25 free street trees in exchange for helping to plant and take care of young trees.
The spring trees are all spoken for, but you have until July 15th to register for the fall planting program. Get your neighbors thinking about it now. It’s a commitment — one person has to be Tree Leader — but that ensures success.
To be clear, the Cornelian cherry dogwood fits nobody’s definition of a street tree — you will have to buy this one for yourself, I’m sure — but I can’t find a list of the street trees available through the PNPP.