The Kousa dogwood tree is native to China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and while it appears flowers that arrive in profusion in the late spring, they are actually bracts. These bracts surround the tree's actual flowers, which are tiny and yellowish-green.
The Kousa dogwood is a small tree that drops its leaves in the fall after they've turned bright red. It grows as wide as it grows high, which is between 15 and 30 feet. Young trees have a vase-like shape, but they become rounder as they age. The bracts are white or pinkish, and the flower eventually gives way to a berry-like fruit. This fruit eventually becomes pinkish red and stays on the tree till fall. They are edible and have a sweet taste. The fruit is an ingredient in some wines. However, birds especially prize these fruits. The Kousa dogwood also attracts butterflies and tolerates deer.
The tree prefers full sun to part shade, and once established doesn't need much maintenance. It thrives in sandy, rich, well-drained soil. It is a tougher tree than the flowering dogwood and resists disease and insects well. It does best in hardiness zones 5 to 8.
The two varieties of Kousa dogwood are the Japanese dogwood and the Chinese dogwood.