plants herald spring like the common flowering dogwood, Cornus
florida, but the plant that prolongs spring's beauty is another
dogwood, Cornus kousa. Bursting into bloom two to three
weeks after the common dogwood, kousa is a stunning tree with
its creamy white flowers and green foliage. The pointed or tapered
white petals are actually modified leaves called bracts. They
surround clusters of tiny yellow flowers and cover the tree for
a striking spring display.
dogwood is in demand for its grower friendliness and is an excellent
substitute for the common flowering dogwood, particularly since
it is resistant to the dogwood borer and dogwood anthracnose problems
that have plagued the common dogwoods in recent years.
handsome small tree adds year-round beauty and is particularly
attractive in smaller spaces and urban gardens. The bark is initially
smooth and light brown, later exfoliating into small patches forming
a tan and brown camouflage or mottled pattern. This mottled, exfoliating
bark creates interest in wintertime. After bloom in mid-May, jousa's
red raspberry-kike fruit appears during late summer and hangs
down among the green leaves. The edible fruit persists into autumn
complementing the purplish-red fall foliage. The fruit is sweet
and edible but somewhat mealy.
grows best in partial shade and will tolerate full sun, growing
to 15 to 25 feet with a 25-foot spread. It grows in climatic zones
5 to 8 and prefers being planted in a well-drained acidic soil.
beloved kousa dogwood will stretch your imagination when you visit
the diverse collection of cultivars at the JC Raulston Arboretum
(JCRA) at NC State University. From the weeping forms of 'Pendula"
and 'Lustgarten Weeping', to the slightly rosy floral display
of 'Satomi' and the subtle fall color interest of 'Autumn Rose',
you will find that kousa dogwood takes a back seat to nobody!
To learn more visit the JCRA website at www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum.