Cornus Kousa Dendrobenthamia Japonica Seeds Si Zhao Hua
Cornus Kousa (Dendrobenthamia Japonica) 四照花
Cornus kousa (also Benthamidia kousa), the Kousa dogwood, is a small deciduous tree 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, in the dogwood family Cornaceae. It is native to Korea, much of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan and the Ryukyu Islands. It is reported to be naturalized in Hawaii, Connecticut and New York State. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental.
The Kousa dogwood is sometimes also called "Chinese dogwood", Korean dogwood, or Japanese dogwood.
Like 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, white petals are actually four spreading bracts 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 (Cornus florida) of eastern North America by its more upright habit, flowering about a month later, and by the 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 exceed 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.
Varieties, hybrids and cultivars
There are two recognized subspecies / varieties:
Cornus kousa F.Buerger ex Hance or Cornus kousa Hance subsp. kousa – Japanese dogwood, native to Japan and Korea.
Cornus kousa Hance subsp. chinensis (Osborn) Q. Y. Xiang – Chinese dogwood, native to China. This variety supposedly flowers more freely and produces larger flower bracts, with leaves that are also said to be larger than average. The validity of this variety, however, is questioned by some authorities.
Hybrids between C. kousa and C. florida (Cornus × rutgersensis Mattera, T. Molnar, & Struwe) and C. kousa and C. florida (Cornus × elwinortonii Mattera, T. Molnar, & Struwe) have been created by Rutgers University. Several selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance have been named, patented, and released.
Culinary and food usage
C. kousa has edible berries. The rind of the berries are usually discarded because it has a bitter taste, although it is edible. The large seeds are usually not eaten, but could be ground into jam and sauces. While less popular than the berries, young leaves can also be consumed.
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