Cornus kousa

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Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa img 2066.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Cornus subg. 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, is a small deciduous tree 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, in the family Cornaceae. Common names include kousa, kousa dogwood,[1] Chinese dogwood,[2][3] Korean Dogwood,[3][4][5] and Japanese dogwood.[1][3] Synonyms are Benthamia kousa and Cynoxylon kousa.[6] It is a plant native to East Asia including Korea, China and Japan.[7] Widely cultivated as an ornamental, it is naturalized in New York State.[8]


Like other Cornus, C. kousa 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.

It can be distinguished from the 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.[9]

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.

Fall foliage is a showy red color.

Varieties, hybridsm and cultivars[edit]

A number of hybrids between C. kousa and C. florida have been selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance. Varieties include:

  • Cornus kousa Hance subsp. kousa, or Japanese dogwood, native to Japan and Korea.[10]
  • Cornus kousa Hance subsp. chinensis or Chinese dogwood, native to China.[11]
  • The cultivar C. kousa 'Miss Satomi'. The validity of this variety, however, is questioned according to the University of Connecticut Plant Database. The selection Milky Way is one of the most common cultivars in the trade, probably composed of over a dozen similar clones. It is extremely floriferous and sets a very heavy crop of fruit.[12]
  • Satomi, with pink bracts, and Wolf Eyes, a variegated form are popular.[12]

In the UK the following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017):-[13]

  • ’John Slocock’[14]
  • ’Miss Satomi’[15]
  • ’Summer Fun’[16]
  • ’Wolf Eyes’[17]
  • Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Wisley Queen’[18]

Culinary and food usage[edit]

C. kousa has edible berries. The rind of the berries are usually discarded because it has a bitter taste, although it is edible. The large seeds are usually not eaten, but could be ground into jam and sauces. While less popular than the berries, young leaves can also be consumed.[19][20]



  1. ^ a b "Cornus kousa Hance" at Germplasm Resources Information Network. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  2. ^ Gilman, Edward F. (1997). Trees for urban and suburban landscapes. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-8273-7053-1. 
  3. ^ a b c Tenenbaum, Frances (2003). Taylor's encyclopedia of plants. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-618-22644-3. 
  4. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 421. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2016 – via Korea Forest Service. 
  5. ^ "Korean dogwood". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 April 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Plant List". Kew Gardens. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "Cornus kousa". U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Chinese dogwood". Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Cornus kousa subsp. chinensis". Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cornus kousa Hance subsp. kousa". U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Cornus kousa Hance subsp. chinensis". U.S. National Plant Germplasm System. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Cornus kousa". UCONN. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 23. Retrieved 24 January 2018. 
  14. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus kousa 'John Slocock'". Retrieved 2 February 2018. 
  15. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus kousa 'Miss Satomi'". Retrieved 2 February 2018. 
  16. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus kousa 'Summer Fun'". Retrieved 2 February 2018. 
  17. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes'". Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  18. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Cornus kousa var. chinensis 'Wisley Queen'". Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  19. ^ "Eat The Weeds and other things, too". Eat The Weeds and other things, too. Retrieved 2017-09-25. 
  20. ^ Lloyd, T. Abe (2012-09-24). "Wild Harvests: Kousa Dogwood, another urban wonder". Wild Harvests. Retrieved 2017-09-25. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Cornus kousa at Wikimedia Commons