AppearanceLike most dogwoods, Kousa dogwood has opposite, simple leaves, 4–10 cm long. The tree is extremely showy when in bloom, but what appear to be four-petalled white flowers are actually bracts spread open below the cluster of inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. The blossoms appear in late spring, weeks after the tree leafs out.
The kousa dogwood can be distinguished from the closely related flowering dogwood 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 in 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 sweet and delicious addition to the tree's ornamental value. The fruit is sometimes used for making wine.
It is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease, caused by the fungus ''Discula destructiva'', unlike ''C. florida'', which is very susceptible and commonly killed by it; for this reason, ''C. kousa'' is being widely planted as an ornamental tree in areas affected by the disease. A number of hybrids between ''C. kousa'' and ''C. florida'' have also been selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance.
Fall foliage is a showy red color.
NamingThe Kousa dogwood is sometimes also called "Chinese dogwood", ''Korean Dogwood'', or ''Japanese dogwood''.
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