Virginia Tech® home

Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

This publication is available in a PDF file format only.

Kousa dogwood is a small tree with very showy flowers (bracts) in May/June. The true flower is relatively inconspicuous and sits in the center of four showy white bracts (tapered modified leaves, each about 1 to 2 inches long). Bracts are relatively long lived and persist for up to six weeks; in comparison, the flowering period for the native flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is about two weeks. The branches of a mature tree generally have a distinct horizontal orientation. Thus, in flower, branch tiers are cloaked in white. In contrast to the native flowering dogwood, kousa dogwood produces its flowers after leaves have emerged. However, the bracts are held upright on a stalk (pedicle) and are not hidden by the foliage. The true flowers develop into spherical red-pink fruit (about 1 inch diameter; late summer/early fall) that are relatively showy. Fruit are edible when they become soft. Fall color varies from tree to tree (seedling-grown trees) and from cultivar to cultivar. 

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law

Publication Date

October 1, 2018