Cornus kousa Hance
Kousa Dogwood, Japanese Dogwood, Chinese Dogwood
Kousa dogwood is native to Japan, North Korea, and China. Cultivars have escaped to parts of New York, but are otherwise not found in the wild in North America, though the cultivars are popular in many other locations too. Here is a list of some common Cornus kousa cultivars.
Identification: Kousa dogwood is a small tree up to 20' (6.1 m) in height, rarely reaching 30' (9.1 m). Its trunk develops unevenly-shaped peeling scales at maturity, producing varying coloration in the trunk resembling camouflage. More vase-shaped at first, it matures into a rounded crown. It has opposite leaves 2-4" (5-10 cm) × ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm), elliptic to ovate in shape, with smooth edges and leaf veins that are nearly parallel to the edges. Dark green summer leaves turn red or purple in the fall. Dogwoods have showy white “flowers” about 3" (7.6 cm) wide. Actually, though, the flowers are bracts—modified leaves, and the true flowers are an inconspicuous disc of yellow-green florets in the center. They flower from June to early July. The fruits are the most unique aspect of this dogwood: bumpy globes about ¾-1" (1.9-2.5 cm) around, bright pink, fading to dull red. The fruits reach upward on the ends of branches unless the branches bend. They are coveted by birds and squirrels.
Edibility: Fruits are sweet and juicy raw or cooked, though very seedy and with a tough outer covering. The seeds are said to be poisonous, though.
Cornus kousa at the Missouri Botanical Garden
Cornus kousa at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Cornus kousa on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Cornus kousa on eFloras
Cornus kousa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.
Range: Zones 5-8: