Cornus kousa
Common name: 
Kousa Dogwood
Asian Dogwood
Chinese Dogwood
KOR-nus KOO-sa
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • 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 axils 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 than C. florida (Dirr, 1998, p. 261).
  • Hardy to USDA Zone (4) 5    Native to Japan, China, Korea.
  • Many cultivars, over 80 (see Dirr, 2009, for an extensive list), including a few having pink-red floral bracts, e.g.,‘Radiant Rose’, and others with variegated leaves, such as: 'Gold Star', green leaves with irregular yellow centers;  'Sunsplash', wide yellow margin, green center; 'Wolf Eyes' , green center and white margin.
  • cornus: the Latin name for Cornus mas.  kousa: the Japanese name.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: north side of the Valley Library, in raised beds.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, start of flowering

    plant habit, start of flowering

  • leaves and developing flower

    leaves and developing flower

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • in full flower

    in full flower

  • flowering branches

    flowering branches

  • flowers


  • senescing flowers

    senescing flowers

  • leaves and immature fruit

    leaves and immature fruit

  • fruit


  • fruit


  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • leaves, fall

    leaves, fall

  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • buds


  • winter twigs, buds

    winter twigs, buds