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Flowering Dogwood vs Kousa Dogwood

The native flowering dogwood is sometimes confused with the introduced Kousa dogwood, which is common in landscaping and has also established in the wild in the region around NYC. The two species have similar leaves, but are easily told apart at any time of year by fruit, bark, or flowers.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)

A small flowering tree of Eastern North America, common in forest understories and widely planted in landscaping.
An East Asian species widely planted in North America and established in the wild at a few locations outside of New York City.
Petal-like bracts conspicuously notched when mature (tips dry out and curl back when forming.)
Photo © Maura, Public Domain.
Petal-like bracts pointed even when mature. Flowers are slightly smaller.
Photo © botanygirl, CC BY 4.0.
Fruit in a cluster of distinct berries.
Photo © Yann Kemper, Public Domain.
Fruit fused into a single spherical fruit that looks vaguely strawberry-like.
Photo © Judy Gallagher, CC BY 4.0.
Bark of mature trees thicker and scaly, gray or with a slight reddish tinge.
Photo © , CC BY-SA 4.0.
Bark of mature trees smooth and thin, often mottled, with splotches of gray and orangeish.
Photo © Downtowngal (Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 3.0.
Flowers slightly earlier. Flowers are fully-formed before tree is fully leafed out.
Photo © Katja Schulz, CC BY 4.0.
Flowers slightly later. Tree is fully leafed out while flowers are still forming.
Photo © Kim, Hyun-tae, CC BY 4.0.