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The dogwood or also called horn bush is a small tree or bush that is often cultivated in gardens in the local latitudes. Because it looks very decorative at any time of the year with its reddish shimmering branches, which even turn blood red in winter. There are also red fruits in autumn. These are not poisonous, but the other parts of the plant are slightly poisonous. Therefore, the following article explains what should be considered when cultivating.


Existing toxins

Cornus owns poisonous plant parts, while the fruits are not poisonous, either raw or cooked. But the fruits are inedible raw because they are very acidic, but are often cooked and processed as fruit juice or jam. In addition, the fruits of the dogwood can often be found dried in birdseed.

The poison is mainly found in the following parts of the plant:

  • Scroll
  • root
  • bark
  • enriched with cornine
Dogwood, Cornus


Because of the poison present, the horn bush is also known by the Latin name Cornus. at cornin it is a poison for which a critical dose is not known, a life-threatening case has not yet occurred. This is mainly due to the fact that large parts of the plant would have to be eaten, which usually does not happen. But even simple contact with the plant can transmit the poison and trigger symptoms. Therefore, when working with the hornbush always ensure that long clothing and gardening gloves are worn.


If a small child living in the household accidentally put a leaf in the mouth while playing, or a cat or dog nibbled or licked the plant, the following symptoms may occur: poisoning come. These are described as follows at, the information page of the poison emergency center in Bonn.

  • local mechanical irritation when touched
  • also skin rash
  • upon consumption
  • fatigue
  • malaise
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

If such symptoms are found, it is advisable to give the person who tasted the plant more liquid in the form of water to supply If you are unsure, call the poison control center, which will help in such cases and will quickly look for one doctor or dial the emergency number directly.

Dogwood, Cornus


From children

Especially for very small children, the horn bush cultivated in the garden can be dangerous. Because even if the fruit are not poisonous and because they are inedible when raw they are quickly spat out again, so small children in particular like to use them for their games leaves and branches. It is used for building or cooking. On the other hand, older children, around the second half of primary school, can be easily explained that the shrub is poisonous and should therefore not be touched. However, if there are small children in the household, the following precautions are recommended.

  • avoiding cultivation
  • Planting dogwood behind a fence
  • always out of reach of small children

However, if the suspicion arises that a child has come into contact with the dogwood, possibly even eaten one or the other leaf, then there should be no hesitation emergency call to agree. Because even if no life-threatening symptoms in connection with the dogwood have occurred so far, small children's bodies are not yet as resistant as is the case with adults and should therefore always be handed over to medical care immediately.

Small children on meadow

Of dogs and cats

If dogs, cats or even smaller rodents such as rabbits and guinea pigs live in the household, then contact with a Cornus should be avoided at all costs. Because for the small animals, contact can be fatal, even if the dogwood is only slightly poisonous. Rodents and cats in particular like to nibble on the twigs and leaves of plants, so the poison can quickly get into the body. In such a case, the vet to be visited. Therefore, the following measures should be taken in cultivation when small animals live with household.

  • with dogs, a fence around the bush will help
  • only release small rodents in an enclosure in the garden
  • Make a specific area for cats to run out
  • do without a hornbush in the garden altogether
young dogs in the countryside

Of sheep and chickens

The berries that grow on the bush in autumn are not only decorative, but also a welcome source of food, especially for birds. Therefore, the dried fruits are often used in commercial birdseed. So can they Chicken like to pick at the berries in the garden, as they are completely non-toxic. Sheep, on the other hand, if they belong to the household, should not get to a bush. Because straight sheep like to nibble on the leaves of plants and could in turn ingest the poison. Also in this case, the walk to vet unavoidable when the various symptoms of possible poisoning appear.

sheep in the pasture

Therefore, it is better to do the following:

  • Do not plant dogwoods near sheep
  • feed the chickens only the berries
  • Do not cultivate plants near the stable

Because just one chicken has very little weight and cannot easily process the ingested poison. However, if the animals peck at the branches or in the ground around the roots, they are at risk of ingesting the poison. This could also quickly end fatally for these animals.



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