The kousa dogwood grows as a small flowering tree or a large multi-stemmed shrub. In the summer, the tree is covered in large white flowers that lay flat on top of the leaves. Each flower has 4 pointed petals. The tree’s leaves are dark green, oval shaped, and also pointed. The bark has a mosaic-like look, with patches of gray, tan, and brown. This tree also produces bright red raspberry-looking fruits, which although are edible to humans, are usually left to the birds. This tree also attracts butterflies.
Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood)
Characteristics: The 2-4 inch long leaves are oval-shaped, pointed, and dark green. In the fall, leaves turn red. Flowers are creamy white, 2-4 inches wide, and have 4 pointed petals. In September to October, raspberry-shaped, red fruits begin to appear. Bark develops a mosaic look, with its differing patterns of gray, tan, and brown. This tree has a vase shape when young and becomes rounded and broad-spreading with age, developing distinct horizontal branches. It grows 20-30 feet high and wide.
Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)
Geographic Origin: Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan (non-native)
Cultivation Notes: Requires low maintenance. Does best in full sun to part-shade. Prefers acidic, moist, and well-drained soils. It is recommended to surround this tree with 2-4 inches of mulch, in order to keep roots cool and moist in the summer.
Number on Campus: 32
Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden