Darrell Blackwelder: Kousa dogwood

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 12, 2019

Our native flowering dogwood blooms are gone, however there is another interesting dogwood now in full bloom.

Kousa dogwood is a showy flowering tree that leafs out before it flowers, providing a wonderful green backdrop for its colorful flowers.

Salisbury’s Hurley Park has an excellent example of the tree now in bloom near the gazebo. This tree is the perfect specimen enhancing the park’s entranceway.

This dogwood is very popular, not only because of its showy late bloom, but its hardiness to our growing conditions.

Kousa dogwoods adapt to dry and compact soils and have no serious disease or pest problems.

The bloom of a kousa dogwood is rather unique with pointed bracts (white flower petals) with some cultivars that can reach three inches across, as each flower seems to have perfect petals.

The foliage emerges a couple of weeks after native dogwoods, with medium to dark green leaves which turn reddish to purple in the fall.

In the late summer, the tree produces large unusual fruit. These globular, green fruits turn pink during late summer and a dull red color resembling a large, upright raspberry in September.

Fruits are devoured by both squirrels and birds, and is edible. Some say the taste resembles pawpaw while other says mild strawberry.

Go to https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/cornus-kousa/ for more detailed information.


The Kousa leafs out before it flowers, providing a green backdrop for its blooms.