Cornus kousa var. chinensis 'Madison' CROWN JEWEL
Common Name: kousa dogwood
Type: Tree
Family: Cornaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

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 consistent 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. Mottled, exfoliating, tan and gray bark on mature trees is attractive in winter.

Var. chinensis is native to China and is commonly called Chinese dogwood. It 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, eventually maturing to a more rounded form. Var. chinensis is very similar to the species except for having slightly larger flower bracts, larger fruit, and larger, smoother and often more pubescent leaves. It is particularly noted for (a) abundant white-bracted flowers which bloom in profusion in May, (b) edible red berries (to 1.25" diameter) which mature in summer, and (c) showy orange-red fall foliage color.

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.

‘Madison' is a cultivar that is particularly noted for its unusual but attractive summer leaf color. It was discovered in 1994 as a seedling growing at Brotzman's Nursery in Madison, Ohio. Showy gold and red colors appear in late July to early August on the leaves of late summer flushes of new growth. These summer colors are primarily attributable to the onset of summer heat. Leaves retain these interesting summer colors until fall when they acquire the red and orange fall color typical of the species. If conditions of drought are present, the summer growth flush may not appear resulting in an absence of the summer red and gold coloration for the year. U.S. Plant Patent PP16,129 was issued on November 29, 2005.

'Madison' is sometimes sold under the trade name of CROWN JEWEL.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Kousa dogwoods generally have better disease resistance than flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida). Excellent resistance to anthracnose. Stressed trees may become vulnerable to borers. In full sun locations, leaf scorch may appear, particularly if plants are sited in full sun in hot, windy or droughty conditions.

Garden Uses

A stunning small flowering tree or large shrub with excellent flowers, showy fruit, interesing summer foliage color, good fall color and some winter interest. 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 or bird gardens.