Yamaboushi and Benthamidia kousa.



Common name/s ?

Szechuan strawberry, Japanese flowering dogwood, Japanese dogwood and kousa dogwood.

Skill rating



Asia (China, Japan and Korea).

Type of plant ?

Deciduous, perennial tree.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

Can grow to 8m height and spread, but is usually around 6m.

Growth rate ?

Slow, reaches its full height in 20 to 50 years.

Shape it grows into

Bushy, spreading tree.

Season/s of interest

Flowers early summer, colourful leaves and fruits in autumn.

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in any soil type and pH so long as it’s well drained. Will tolerate any aspect and both exposed and sheltered sites.

Cornus kousa


Oval, green leaves hang delicately from spring until autumn, when they turn bright red-purple before falling. In early summer clusters of tiny green flowers appear surrounded by four creamy-white bracts, which appear like petals. Deep pink, strawberry-like fruits appear on tall stalks, although in milder climates the tree will only produce fruit after a hot summer.

What to use it for

Useful in beds or borders, where it can be used like a large shrub or pruned into a standard form to raise the canopy above the other plants. A good specimen tree for a small garden, although it will be bare over winter.

How to look after it

Requires little maintenance. Pruning (see below) should be kept to a minimum.

How to prune it

Pruning is only needed to remove dead wood after flowering. If you wish to clear the stem to create a standard form, prune it from autumn to early spring. Otherwise keep pruning to a minimum; Cornus kousa does not tolerate hard pruning.

How to propagate it

Can be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings in late spring to early summer. Seeds can be collected; extract them from ripe fruits, cold stratify and then sow in late winter to early spring.

Common problems

May suffer from cornus anthracnose, although it is less susceptible than other Cornus species, and honey fungus. Pests don’t tend to be a problem.

Other useful information ?

The red fruits are edible but may cause a mild stomach upset if too many are eaten.