Kousa Dogwood berries

dedtiredOctober 1, 2011

I planted a Kousa Dogwood in my side yard three years ago. It is very happy in that spot and is thriving. This year it produced a bumper crop of berries. They are adorable, however, some are falling off the tree and the smell of rot is unpleasant. I've tried raking them up and even picking them up but they are too squishy.

Do all the berries fall off or do the majority stay on the tree and wither? Do Kousa's produce berries every year? I've heard that birds eat the berries but it would take a crow to eat these. They are pretty big. So far no birds have appeared to eat them. I know birds sometimes eat berries over the winter. Is that what I should expect?

Cute as they are, I am not happy about the berry mess. BTW, I am located just outside of Philadelphia.

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lucky_p

ded,
YOU can eat them - just don't let them get rotten first. With all the attention that pawpaws are getting right now, I figure it's just a matter of time 'til somebody gets on the kousa bandwagon. The pulp contained inside that leathery skin is fairly tasty - but you have to look out for the stony little seeds.
I've seen squirrels eat the fruits, but never birds.
Well I suspect that you've planted this tree in hopes that it'll bloom every spring - and usually, if they bloom, they set fruit.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 3:14PM
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totallyconfused

I've had my kousa for probably 8-10 years and this is the first year that it has fruited to the point of nuisance. So far mine has not been reliable in its flowering. Some years it is covered, other years it barely gets a dozen blooms. I don't know if it's weather related, or what makes the difference.

Totally Confused

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 6:18AM
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dedtired

The inside of the berries kind of looks like mango. However, I have not tried one. I read that people use them to make wine. I would be happy if the squirrels would eat every one. There are a number of oak trees nearby and they seem to be busy eating the acorns now. Wouldn't you think they'd want a few berries for dessert? Maybe once the weather gets very cold the birds will come back for the berries. I notice that they do that on my neighbors flowering cherry. In fact, I have to be sure to put my car in the garage in the winter so it doesn't get covered with bird poop!

It did flower nicely this spring and the "flowers" lasted a long time. I guess the berries are the price you pay -- although they do look adorable.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:00AM
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denninmi(8a)

Mine have never persisted very long at all -- they are too large and fleshy, and fall and rot quickly.

You can make a decent jelly from them -- I tried a small sample batch a few years ago, not too bad but had a little bitterness to it, probably would have been better adulterated with another fruit juice.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 6:58PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Here's a picture of some Cornus kousa berries in my garden.
I haven't eaten any.....yet.
Mike

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Monkey balls. Squirrels going for them is consistent with them being developed for mammalian dispersal.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 1:27PM
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lucky_p

Mike,
Sample some! Don't just pop 'em in your mouth - the leathery skin is not tasty. I just 'massage' the fruits, tear the stem out, and suck out the pulp. Tastes kinda-sorta like pawpaw to me, if a little grittier/grainier. Take care not to break a tooth on the stony little seeds.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:21PM
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dedtired

Mike, mine all hang down, not stick up like yours. My tree is still fairly small and is loaded with berries. I am worried about what the mess will be like when the tree gets larger and even more productive. So far I have not seen the squirrels eat them, but I wish they would.

I have to say I am not tempted to eat them. I wonder if they could be dried. They'd make cute Christmas decorations.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:47PM
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pineresin

They're delicious! I've eaten plenty. Like Lucky_p says, just suck the pulp out of the skin. The pips can be swallowed or spat out.

In China (where the species comes from) they are readily available in shops, and very popular.

Resin

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 4:37PM
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