Kousa Dogwood

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Kousa dogwood
Chinese dogwood
Korean dogwood
Japanese dogwood
Cornus kousa img 2066.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Benthamidia
Species: C. kousa
Binomial name
Cornus kousa
Buerger ex Miq.
Synonyms[1]
  • Benthamia kousa (F.Buerger ex Hance) Nakai
  • Cynoxylon kousa (F.Buerger ex Hance) Nakai

The Kousa dogwood[2] (Cornus kousa or Benthamidia kousa) is a small deciduous tree 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, native to Korea, much of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan and the Ryukyu Islands.[3] It is also reportedly naturalized in Hawaii, Connecticut and New York State.[4] It is widely cultivated as an ornamental.

The Kousa dogwood is sometimes also called "Chinese dogwood",[5][6] Korean Dogwood,[6] or Japanese dogwood.[2]

Description[edit]

Like most dogwoods, Kousa dogwood has opposite, simple leaves, 4–10 cm long. The tree is extremely showy when in bloom, but what appear to be four-petalled white flowers are actually bracts spread open below the cluster of inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. The blossoms appear in late spring, weeks after the tree leafs out.

The kousa dogwood can be distinguished from the closely related flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) of eastern North America by its more upright habit, flowering about a month later, and having pointed rather than rounded flower bracts.

The fruit is a globose pink to red compound berry 2–3 cm in diameter, though these berries tend to grow larger towards the end of the season and some berry clusters that do not fall from the tree surpass 4 cm. It is edible, a sweet and delicious addition to the tree's ornamental value. The fruit is sometimes used for making wine.[7][8]

It is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease, caused by the fungus Discula destructiva, unlike C. florida, which is very susceptible and commonly killed by it; for this reason, C. kousa is being widely planted as an ornamental tree in areas affected by the disease. A number of hybrids between C. kousa and C. florida have also been selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance.

Fall foliage is a showy red color.

Varieties[edit]

There are two varieties:

  • Cornus kousa var. kousa - Japanese dogwood.[9] Leaves 4–7 cm; flower bracts 3–5 cm. Japan, Korea.
  • Cornus kousa var. chinensis - Chinese dogwood (Chinese: 四照花; pinyin: sì zhào huā).[10] Leaves 5–10 cm; flower bracts 4–6 cm. China, Taiwan.

The varieties C. kousa 'Miss Satomi'[11] and C. kousa var. chinensis[12] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Images[edit]

References[edit]