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Kousa Dogwood


The Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), also called Japanese Dogwood or Chinese Dogwood, is a deciduous tree growing up to 10 metres tall and 6 metres wide. It’s a much appreciated ornamental tree that gets heavily laden with delicious late summer fruits.

Kousa dogwood fruit

A Kousa dogwood fruit cut in half

Where It Grows

It’s native to Korea, much of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan and the Ryukyu Islands. It is reported to be naturalized in Hawaii, Connecticut and New York State.

In the US it’s hardy to USDA zone 5-8, and in the UK it’s hardy to zone 5.

Cornus kousa tree

A Cornus kousa tree at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States. Photo: Henry Hartley

Why We Like It

  • The fruit is edible, a sweet and delicious pink to red compound berry 2–3 cm in diameter. Ken Fern’s Plants for a Future has this to say about the fruit:

    The fruit, which is about 2cm in diameter, is absolutely delicious and can be eaten raw or cooked. The skin is rather tough and unpleasant with a bitter flavour, but the pulp inside has an exquisite flavour that has a hint of banana and a custard-like texture – this is far and away one of our favourite late summer fruits.

  • It’s an easily grown plant that can succeed in any soil of at least moderate fertility and positions that are at least partially sunny.
  • It’s a beautiful tree to look at, especially when flowering in early summer but also when heavily laden with fruit.
  • It is hardy to about -20°c and so should succeed in most parts of the country.
  • It can grow in a wide variety of soils, from sandy and loamy to heavy clay soils.

Where To Get It

To get vigorous plants Ken Fern of Plants for a Future recommend that you plant seeds rather than propagate from cuttings. For some good pointers on planting and germination see this article.

United States

Sheffield’s Seed Company (Cornus kousa / Cornus kousa chinensis)


Agroforestry Research Trust (Cornus kousa chinensis: seeds / plant)

Learn More

Plants for a Future

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