Cornus kousa

Botanical Name: Cornus kousa

Common Name:
Kousa Dogwood

Plant Hardiness: Zone 5

Flower: Showy white bracts surround the inconspicuous actual flowers. Bracts often turn pinkish as they age

Bloom Time: Throughout June and into July

Foliage: Dark green in the summer fading to a reddish purple in the fall. Fall color is variable and not as striking as Cornus florida

Fruit: A round red drupe approximately 1″ in diameter. Very showy as most trees fruit heavily. The fruit is also edible

Habit: When young it has an upright vase shaped habit but matures into a rounded head with horizontal branching

Size: About 20 feet tall with an equal spread

Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial sun

Native Habitat: Japan, Korea and China

Other Features: The bark exfoliates with age leaving multicolored gray to brown patches on the trunk. Also shows resistance to Dogwood Decline



Description: This species from Japan and Korea blooms about 3 weeks after our common white flowering dogwood; therefore, it gives a quite different effect since it blooms after the leaves are on the tree. The flowers are quite similar to our Cornus florida; however, the bracts are pointed at the tip, and the bracts do, at times, show quite a bit of pink as they fade and get ready to fall. It is a more bushy, heavily branched tree than Cornus florida, and in the fall its color is not as striking as our native tree. Its berries are very interesting as they hang down from the stem, somewhat like red cherries with dull rough skin. On older trees, the bark on the trunk exfoliates in irregular patches and shows lighter bark underneath, thus giving the tree added value in the winter when its leaves are gone. Growing conditions would be quite similar to those of Cornus florida, sandy, well-drained soil seems to be the best. The variety ‘Chinensis’, which is listed in the trade quite often, is supposed to have larger flowers than the type plant; however, this is not necessarily the case. Since Cornus kousa is not nearly as susceptible to Dogwood Decline as Cornus florida, it has become more popular over the last few years; but to my mind, it can’t compare to Cornus florida as the almost perfect flowering tree.