Cornus Kousa varieties


I stated in the past that I’m not a fan of C. Kousa, but I later found out that not all C. Kousa are created equally. There are named varieties just for fruit quality and production. Most of these are Ukrainian or Czech cultivars. There are some named cultivars in the US with good fruit. Milky Way and China Girl both produce very good fruits, according to a friend of mine. I’m curious to know what other named cultivars in the US produce good fruits and which ones to stay away from in terms of fruit quality. The ones I’ve tasted in the past were from the same tree at different stages and the fruit was gritty with a sweet flavor followed by astringency. I’m not sure the name of that cultivar, but I will not eat from it again. It is my understanding that all Kousa are gritty near the skin, but the one I ate tasted like sand was in the flesh. I ordered some C. Kousa seedlings and will be grafting Milky Way and China Girl this spring. I’d love to hear what others are worthy of grafting.


Big apple is advertised for its fruit, not sure how taste compares, but size suppose to be bigger.


It looks like Big red is edible but no word on how tasty they are. I just found these also

C. Kousa Julian- Bracts curved up at tip, excellent fall color, and large fruit greater than 1 inch across.
C. Kousa National- Vigorous, vase-shaped tree; dark green foliage. Exfoliating bark, large creamy white bracts,fruits are larger than normal.


Thanks for starting the topic. More info on this should be circulated. Not a big fan, but it can be a snack when out working in the yard. The best I’ve found is an evergreen dogwood “Cornus Capitata” or maybe it was a hybrid of it crossed with cornus kousa. October fruits very sweet and flavorful. All the other comments above are good one.


I’ve read there are several different hybrids out
Cornus capitata x kousa ‘Porlock’ ‘Gloria Birkett’ ‘Kenwyn Clapp’ and ‘Norman Hadden’
cornus kousa x nuttallii ‘Starlight’ ‘Rosy Teacupsand’ and ‘Venus’
Cornus kousa × C. florida ‘Hyperion’ and ‘Saturn’


Edible, the Venus and Starlight don’t exactly resemble Kousa. closer to Cornus Florida (although I’ve not seen the nuttallii before it was crossed to know just how it performs). The Capitata are evergreen in zone 7b. I’ve planted them in Charlotte, NC and Ft. Mill, SC. (Fruits more to my liking than cornus kousa.) Have not tried them in zone 6 in Kentucky.


I live 10 minutes south of Fort Mill SC so if C.Capitata x kousa likes it there it should like it here also. Are you from the Charlotte/Fort Mill area?
Thanks for the info on cornus kousa x nuttallii Starlight and Venus. They must be for ornamental purposes only. Looking at photos online of pure C. nuttallii fruit looks like what I would think C. florida x kousa would like.

However pure C.Capitata looks more like kousa and with it being crossed to kousa it should make the hybrid more heat tolerant than a pure Kousa and more hardy than pure C.Capitata zone 8. Here is a photo of the pure C.Capitata fruits. They look similar to Kousa but smoother and more juicy looking

There is also CORNUS KOUSA VAR. CHINENSIS that makes yellow and orange fruits. MANDARIN JEWEL is one named variety and it looks like a must have. dogwood5


Yes, that Mandarin Jewel looks like a "must have’…looks like it would taste good.

As for where I live, I am in Kentucky. But, have lived in both Cleveland and Mecklinburg counties in NC for a spell. Down 521 out of Pineville towards Lancaster, SC … the “Indian Land” area, you have a nursery called “Young’s”…if they are still in business they probably have some of the hybrid kousas for sale.
I have purchased there as a “Landscape contractor” at wholesale pricing there before.


sadly Youngs shut down and they had been in business since 1988.


Here is 2 more productive cornus kousa, I’m not sure about fruit quality though
cornus kousa Beni Fuji
Cornus kousa John Slocock


Cornus kousa ‘TEUTONIA’ is said to have an outstanding flavor. Here is what says about it.
Pollinated flowers mature in pink red beads in August. The fruit look like Lychee. This variety has relatively large fruits 3 to 4 cm in diameter (1.5 inches) and they are not only edible but are delicious in flavor. something between strawberries and mangoes. Perhaps the closest taste resembles the fruit of a kaki persimmon.


Edible Cornus kousa Seem interesting. I tried to grow something like them once and it may haven been them. I suspect it was Arbutus unedo and not Cornus kousa because it died over winter that year. At the time I was in my twenties and was a little more reckless with what I grew because I questioned cold hardiness of everything like any true zone pusher does. @Barkslip peaked my interest again with Cornus kousa. Disregarding budget, practicality etc. what would be the best Cornus kousa to grow? If your not familiar with the fruit here is a YouTube video


Red Fern Farm in Iowa has rows of seedlings. Tom Wahl there said every seedling is as good as the other. He said grafting is not necessary.

Edit: “The flavor is like pawpaw or some other tropical fruit… not all seedlings are equal. Some of mine are definitely better than others, but most are at least pretty good. There is definitely potential for genetic improvement in fruit quality.” Tom Wahl



I didn’t mean to barge in I didn’t read any of the thread. Every ~8’ tree I could see in the line had beautiful watermelon-colored fruit a little larger than a US Quarter. I liked them.



Milky way is supposed to come true from seed and is reportedly really tasty. I wonder if this is what seeds tom is using. Im grafting sevral named cultivars to try out here in SC. Ill try to post pics when they start pushing growth.
Clark c.kousa should have done well for you in your climate. You are probably right it was likely a strawberry tree and not kousa dogwood if it was winter killed. Arbutus unedo seems to be a picky plant not liking it too hot or cold. They are said to do great in the PNW.


With how ornamental they are, I only buy grafted ones of kousa, though not specifically about the fruit.


The squirrels love the fruit! One planted a small round fruit that is now a six foot tree. I think it will have its first blossoms this spring, if we ever have spring.


Found this on Davesgarden in comment section regarding Capitata: “The flowers later give rise to glistening red, strawberry-like fruits that look delicious, but taste very unpleasant and astringent.”


I had a problem with the astringentsy when I tried them. Timing may be the key factor. Goumis are also astringent even when they look ripe but give them about 3 weeks after they turn red and they are sweet as candy.
@KlecknerOasis what varieties do you grow?


Actually, in October 2016 I got to eat some that I had planted in a yard a few years earlier in Mint Hill, NC (hybrid of Kousa and Capitata)…and found them more mild and delicious than any Kousa I had previously tasted. The peel/hull/husk, whatever the skin is called, is a bit gritty, but the pulp reminded me of a mushy strawberry with a little watermelon juice dribbled on it.