Kousa Dogwood: Tree of the Week

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Before posting this bygl-alert, I had planned on reviewing the many cultivars of Chinese or Kousa dogwood that have entered the market in recent years, including Cornus kousa crosses with Cornus florida (our native flowering dogwood).  I will do this soon, but cannot wait. This is such a year for the kousa dogwood in my side yard that I must share pictures of it from this season right now.


Kousa dogwood leaves on May 9 in northeast Ohio
Emerging leaves at the ChatScape in northern  Wayne County, Ohio on May 9


  This particular dogwood had its origins at my wife’s parents’ house in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. When Laura’s mother was ready to move we dug up a four-inch tall seedling and planted it outside our home in northern Wayne County. It is now up to our second story windows. From shiny young leaves to glorious pediceled inflorescences rising above the leaves, it is one fine tree.


Kousa dogwood blossoms rise on pedicels above the foliage
Kousa dogwood inflorescences arise above the foliage on May 20


Branch full of Kousa dogwood blossoms
a branch-full of Kousa dogwood blossoms on May 20


kousa dogwood flowers and foliage
Someone left the Kousa dogwood out in the rain on May 27


A Kousa bloom
Kousa bloom on May 21


  As for boilerplate on Kousa dogwoods, below is what I wrote a few years ago. I shall update soon. But enjoy kousa dogwoods now.


  Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa var. chinensis).  Kousas are small (15-20 feet) trees with showy white flower bracts, appealing multi-colored bark of grays, browns and tans, stratified horizontal branching pattern, attractive dark-green leaves (red-purple fall color), and colorful, roundish raspberry-like fruits.  Vase-shaped plants grow rounded with age. Kousas prefers moist soils, but are better adapted to drought than our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida.  It flowers three weeks later than Cornus florida and has blossoms elevated above the foliage by short flower stalks.



  There are many cultivars with white and pink flower forms, variegated foliage, and other features. ‘Satomi’ is on one popular cultivar with pink floral effects.  ‘Milky Way’ has an abundance of flowers and fruits. Rutgers hybrids are crosses of C. kousa and C. florida with intermediate characteristics and improved disease resistance over some C. florida cultivars. Examples are ‘Constellation’ and ‘Stellar Pink’ with exceptional flowering.


Kousa on June 3
Kousa dogwood in northeast Ohio on June 3