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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cornus kousa

The two mature cornus kousa (Asian dogwood) in the lawn strip are in full bloom right now, and while the trees are not something I would have planted, given my predilection for natives, they are showstoppers for anyone walking in the neighborhood. The original owner/designer of the garden we have inherited (and will one day get to work on more intensely--once we sell Chipmunk Ridge) wanted an Asian-inspired urban oasis, and given the view from the front patio, I would say that she got her wish.

This small tree (seldom more than 25 feet tall) has quite spectacular bracts surrounding tiny fertile flowers and takes over just about the time the last of our native dogwoods finishes blooming. The species has been widely planted in recent years because it seems immune to the anthracnose currently threatening cornus florida.

Its large blooms are, I have to admit, quite gorgeous and most welcome at a time when few other trees are flowering. (Apologies for a blurry shot taken during a rain shower.)

Alas, this Asian beauty has a downside. While its North American cousin hosts some 117 species of  moths and butterflies, none of our insects can eat kousa, and its fruits are too large to be eaten by any of our migrating songbirds. In its native regions, monkeys feast on the berries, but the Mid-Ohio Valley has a dearth of non-human primates. 

I have, however, read, that the fruits are tasty to humans and are a good smoothie ingredient. This summer may bring some culinary experimentation.

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