Cornus kousa chinensis (Chinese Dogwood) is a small deciduous tree native to East Asia, particularly China and Japan. It is widely cultivated for its attractive flowers, showy fruits, and vibrant fall foliage.
Appearance: Chinese Dogwood is a small to medium-sized tree that typically reaches a height of 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet), although it can occasionally grow taller. It has a rounded or vase-shaped canopy with horizontally spreading branches. The leaves are ovate or elliptical, dark green in color, and turn shades of reddish-purple in the fall, adding to its visual appeal.
Flowers: Chinese Dogwood produces small, four-petaled flowers that appear in late spring to early summer. The flowers are creamy white to yellowish-white and are arranged in showy clusters, called inflorescences, surrounded by four large bracts that resemble petals. The bracts can range in color from white to pink or even red, depending on the cultivar.
Fruit: After flowering, Chinese Dogwood develops oval-shaped, fleshy fruits that resemble berries. The fruits are initially green and eventually mature to a pinkish-red or reddish-orange color. They are edible but are not typically consumed by humans due to their somewhat gritty texture. However, they are attractive to birds and wildlife, making them a valuable food source.
Fall Foliage: Chinese Dogwood displays vibrant fall foliage, with the leaves turning shades of red, purple, and burgundy. The combination of colorful foliage and persistent fruit creates a stunning autumn display.
Cultivation: Chinese Dogwood is relatively easy to grow and is adaptable to various soil types. It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic soil and thrives in full sun to partial shade. It is more tolerant of hot and humid climates compared to other dogwood species. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.
Pruning: Pruning of Chinese Dogwood is typically done in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. It is important to maintain a balanced framework by removing any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. Pruning can help improve the tree's overall form and promote healthier growth.
Chinese Dogwood, Cornus kousa chinensis, is a beautiful and versatile tree that provides year-round interest in the landscape. From its showy flowers and attractive fruits to its vibrant fall foliage, it adds visual appeal and can be a focal point in garden settings.