Japanese Dogwood (Cornus Kousa)

  • Deciduous tree/shrub, 15-18 ft (4.5-5.5 m), vase-shaped in youth, strong horizontal lines with age, exfoliating gray, tan and brown bark. Leaves simple, 5-10 cm long, opposite, have a drawn out tip, hair in axil of veins, dark green in summer, purplish-red or scarlet in fall. Flower buds at end of stems, fattened and globose, two bud scales form sharp point. "Flowers" are creamy-white, taper-pointed bracts (4, each 2.5-5 cm), the true flowers are small and make up the central sphere of the bloom. The blooms appear after the foliage emerges, usually a few weeks after the start of flowering of C. florida. Fruit (drupe) are initially green but ripen to pink or red, are spherical (13-25 mm diam.), on a 5 cm pendulous stalk (late Aug.-Oct.), they are edible but bland, with a mealy texture. (Some of our avian friends apparently disagree with this assessment, for they quickly eat the fruit after it ripens.)
  • Sun to light shade, needs acidic, well-drained soil. More drought resistant and possibly less disease susceptible thanC. florida.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (4) 5 Native to Japan, China, Korea.
  • Many cultivars, over 80, including a few having pink-red floral bracts, e.g., ‘Radiant Rose’, and others with variegated leaves.
  • Cornus: the Latin name for Cornus mas. kousa: the Japanese name.

Information obtained from: OSU http://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/