It's breathtaking when it's in full bloom in the spring and equally stunning in the fall when the leaves become a gorgeous carnelian with hints of purple and the fruit ripens to a deep maroon red.
What is often mistaken for a flower is actually a cluster of leaf bracts surrounding the true flower cluster.
Bracts are leaves that are usually different from the "regular" foliage leaves. Often they are bright and showy and attract bees and other insects who are needed to pollinate the flowers.
In the case of most kousas, the bracts start out white and may develop a pink tint as they age, and that is the case with our other kousa.
Shown here, our older kousa has a shrubbier growth pattern and blooms pure white, without a hint of rose or pink, even as the blossoms age.
But our kousa tree is unique in that the blooms start out heavily tinted rose and green and become white as they age.
Although it's not the true pink dogwood that I had my heart set on when we got it, the effect is indeed distinctive and lovely.
|A young blossom, the flowers have not yet bloomed. The showy bracts are brushed with wine.|
|An older blossom whose flowers have finished blooming. The bracts are faded to white and are drying and falling away from the developing fruit.|
Over the summer it slowly swells as seeds form. In the fall, it ripens into a mature, seed filled fruit. The individual lobes increase in size and turn from green to a deep, dusky red.
The fruit is edible and sweet and different varieties have different flavor palettes.
It provides a tasty winter food for birds and squirrels and a few humans and dogs as well.
We'll explore the flavor and texture of this fruit more in the fall but at least one member of our fur family is too impatient for the fruit to ripen.
|Katie nips a green fruit off one of the lower branches.|
She loves to climb the rocks behind the pond to sneak a tasty morsel whenever she can.
|Chewing the green fruit right off the tree.|
|After she ate the fruit off one branch, she moved on to another.|