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Kousa Dogwood
Cornus kousa img 2066.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Unranked: Angiosperms
Unranked: Eudicots
Unranked: Asterids
Order: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus
Subgenus: Benthamidia
Species: C. kousa
Binomial name
Cornus kousa
Buerger ex Miq.

The Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa or Benthamidia kousa), also known as the Japanese Flowering Dogwood , is a small deciduous tree 8–12 m tall, native to eastern Asia. Like most dogwoods, it has opposite, simple leaves, which are 4–10 cm long.

The tree is extremely showy when in bloom, but what appear to be four petaled white flowers are actually bracts spread open below the cluster of inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. The blossoms appear is in late spring, weeks after the tree leafs out.

CharacteristicsEdit

The kousa dogwood can be distinguished from the closely related Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) of eastern North America by its more upright habit, flowering about a month later, and having pointed rather than rounded flower bracts.

The fruit is a globose pink to red compound berry 2–3 cm diameter, though these berries tend to grow larger towards the end of the season and some berry clusters that do not fall from the tree surpass 4 cm. It is edible, a delicious addition to the tree's ornamental value.

There are two varieties:

  • Cornus kousa var. kousa. Leaves 4–7 cm; flower bracts 3–5 cm. Japan.
  • Cornus kousa var. chinensis. Leaves 5–10 cm; flower bracts 4–6 cm. China.

It is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease, caused by the fungus Discula destructiva, unlike Flowering Dogwood, which is very susceptible and commonly killed by it; for this reason, Kousa Dogwood is being widely planted as an ornamental tree in areas affected by the disease. A number of hybrids between Kousa Dogwood and Flowering Dogwood have also been selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance.

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