What is Kousa?
Also known as Kousa Dogwood, Korean Dogwood, Chinese Dogwood, Cynoxylon Kousa, Japanese Dogwood, Cornus Kousa and Benthamia Kousa, Kousa is a small, deciduous tree. It belongs to the Cornaceae family and grows up to 39 feet in height.
The ornamental plant is native to East Asia in countries such as Korea, Japan and China. The tree is naturalized in the state of New York.
Kousa has simple leaves that grow up to 10cm in length. The showy tree has yellow-green flowers with four spreading bracts beneath, resembling four white petals. The tree flowers in late spring. Unlike the Cornus florida, a flowering dogwood native to the eastern side of North America, Kousa is upright, has pointed flower bracts and flowers one month later.
Kousa Dogwood has compound berry globose fruit that ranges in color from red to pink. The berries can grow larger up to 4cm in diameter. The sweet, edible fruit doesn't just increase the tree's ornamental value, but also finds use in wine-making.
The Korean Dogwood is resistant to the anthracnose dogwood disease and has showy, red foliage in fall.
Kousa cultivars include Kousa Miss Satomi Dogwood such as the Milky Way that produces many fruits, Kousa Hance kousa, Kousa Hance chinensis, Wolf Eyes and Satomi (has pink bracts). Summer Fun, Wolf Eyes, Miss Satomi, Wisley Queen and John Slocock have won the Garden Merit Award by the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK.
The edible Cornus Kousa berries are used for culinary and as food. The berry rinds are edible, but bitter and thus are usually discarded. Kousa seeds can be grounded and used to make sauces and jam. Just like the berries, the leaves are also edible.
Check out our Steel Raised Garden Bed Kit to start your Kousa seeds before transplanting seedlings in your garden.