Cornus kousa

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Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa img 2066.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Syncarpea
Species: C. kousa
Binomial name
Cornus kousa
F.Buerger ex Hance
  • Benthamia kousa (F.Buerger ex Hance) Nakai
  • Cynoxylon kousa (F.Buerger ex Hance) Nakai

Cornus kousa (also Benthamidia kousa), the Kousa dogwood,[2] is a small deciduous tree 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, in the dogwood family Cornaceae. It is native to Korea, much of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan and the Ryukyu Islands.[3] It is reported to be 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]


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, white petals are actually four spreading bracts 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 by the 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 exceed 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.


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

Photo Gallery[edit]