Cornus kousa

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 7 Professionals
Common Name: kousa dogwood
Type: Tree
Family: Cornaceae
Native Range: Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White to pinkish (bracts)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Deer


Best grown in humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, acidic to neutral, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in sandy loams. Appreciates regular moisture during hot summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cornus kousa, commonly called Kousa dogwood, is a small, deciduous flowering tree or multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 15-30’ tall, with a vase-shaped habit in the early years but eventually maturing to a more rounded form. Bloom occurs in late spring. The showy parts of the Kousa dogwood “flower” (3-5” across) are the four narrowly pointed petal-like white bracts which surround the center cluster of insignificant, yellowish-green, true flowers. Flowers are followed by berry-like fruits (to 1” diameter) which mature to a pinkish red in summer and persist into fall. Fruits are technically edible, but are usually left for the birds. Oval, pointed leaves (to 4” long) are dark green, but usually turns attractive shades of reddish-purple to scarlet in autumn. Mottled, exfoliating, tan and gray bark on mature trees is attractive in winter.

Genus name comes from the Latin word cornu meaning horn in probable reference to the strength and density of the wood. Cornus is also the Latin name for cornelian cherry.

Specific epithet is the Japanese name for this species.


No serious insect or disease problems. This plant has better disease resistance and better cold hardiness than flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, and is an excellent alternative to flowering dogwood in areas where dogwood anthracnose is a problem. In full sun locations, leaf scorch may appear, particularly if soils are allowed to dry out.

Garden Uses

A stunning flowering tree or large shrub with good fall color. Plant as a specimen or in small groupings on residential property around homes, near patios or in lawns. Also effective in shrub borders, woodland gardens, bird gardens or naturalized areas.