Kousa dogwood

Cornus kousa dogwood or Japanese, we wrongly too little in the gardens
Japanese Dogwood

Cornus kousa (Bot.)
Kousa dogwood (Eng.)
CORNOUILLERS à fleurs (French)
Japanischer Blumenhartriegel (German)
Cornaceae – Dogwood Family

The Japanese dogwood is a 4 to 8 m high, deciduous tree or shrub that we are not often seen in gardens or parks. This is unfortunate because it is one of the most exotic decorative trees in our climate and soil types at all (except lime) very well. He survives winter temperatures to -20 ° C.

Origin of the Japanese dogwood

The Japanese dogwood is native to Japan, China and Korea. He grows wild on the edge of forests and mountain forests.

Plant Characteristics

The leaves are dark green, slightly wavy and scarlet in autumn. The bottom is blue-green and slightly hairy. The Japanese dogwood blooms in May

Each head with inconspicuous flowers surrounded by four 8 cm large bracts (bracts) that are creamy white or bright green. Sometimes they have pink edges.

Often the flowers are so varied that the blade underneath disappears. It’s really a wonderful voorjaarsbloeier! In his early years are the branches obliquely upward. As he grows, they take a horizontal posture, or even hang down (with the variation ‘Lustgarten Weeping’)
By the end of flowering the flowers fade to pink.
In autumn, this dogwood is worth, because the leaf changes color to blood red.

autumn color

Japanese dogwood is a slow grower, especially in later life.
After a hot summer in September appear orange, strawberry-like fruits with a diameter of 2 cm long and are red steal. They are delicious and can be eaten raw or cooked. Behind a hard shell lies the pudding-like flesh that tastes a little banana.


Japanese dogwood grows best in humus-rich soil that is not too wet. Calcareous soil suits him so well.
On a sunny, sheltered spot in your garden will feel comfortable.

He is hardy.

Cornus species
Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa var. Chinensis).
He grows a bit stronger and higher than the Japanese species. The flowers are about 10 large and bright. The strawberry-like red fruits are larger. He is native to China. An important difference is the lack of brown hairs in the axils of the veins on the underside of the leaves.

From the Chinese dogwood cultivars are grown, there are several that show differences regarding growth habit, color and size of the flowers. The flowers of cultivar ‘Wieting’s Select’ colors, 6 weeks after flowering bright pink. The autumn color of the leaves is special: from soft pink to scarlet.

The leaves of Cornus kousa ‘Snowboy’ have white borders. “Milky way’heeft light yellow flowers with brown dots.” Norman Hadden’heeft white flowers with red dots. ‘Lustgarten Weeping’ with drooping branches is a weeping form.

Pruning Cornus

In Japanese and Chinese dogwood would you most can prune dead branches. The rest can be habit should not be affected.


The English name refers to dogs dogwood = skewers that were once made of wood. The hard wood is used for turning. The bark contains a bitter substance that is used for certain drugs.

Cornus kousa ‘Snowboy’

In France one of the berries’ vin de cornouille “while earlier in Norway, the seeds roasted, ground and used like coffee. In England they kept the fruit in brine, which were then eaten as a kind of olive.

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