kousa dogwood (korean) fruit edible?

bls123September 12, 2005

Some articles on the web about korean dogwoods stated that the fruits are edible. Are they really safe to eat? Has anyone tried them? Do they contain any vitamins? Thanks!

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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I pulled a couple off a tree about two weeks ago. To the chagrin of my wife I tore one open and tasted it. Sweet, but not much to enjoy (I didn't attempt to eat the whole fruit). Given their size I don't think I would personally devote space to them.

Sorry I couldn't tell you more.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 6:04PM
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That's ok, thank you for the info. I tried one today and it was sweet but hardly any pulp like you said. We already have a few as ornamentals, was just really surprised to read that the fruits are actually edible!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 11:42PM
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You don't want to eat the whole fruit - the skin is gritty and disagreeable. Just tear 'em open and massage/suck the pulp into your mouth.
They're OK in small numbers, but I wouldn't want to sit down and eat a whole bunch of them at one sitting.
I've had one friend who indicated that he experienced a 'racing heartbeat'(tachycardia?) following eating Kousa fruits, but it's never been a problem for me.

Agreed, I wouldn't plant 'em just for fruit production, but they are a very nice ornamental, and the edible fruit is an added benefit.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 3:03PM
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Could I mash a mass-selection of fruits (I have 4 trees in my yard) into a sort of juice or what have you?

Also...Im no environmental horticulturalist nor a tree expert...but if I were to plant a few of the fruits, what would I get? Would it be likely for another tree to spring up? Thanks for you time.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 3:30PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Said to be eaten by monkeys in the wild.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 10:03PM
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lillypilly(STH NSW Aust)

Hi all, as far as I know, all cornus sp. bear edible fruits, some more tasty than others. Cornus mas (cornelian cherry) is the one usually grown for fruit,but over here in cooler parts of the country they grow cornus kousa var. chinensis for fruit, many say they have a taste reminiscent of strawberries. All the best from Aus!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 12:35AM
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vikki083(Z7 WA State)

Here in vancouver, wa the squirrels were crazy about them.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 8:29PM
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The flavor of the pulp is somewhat reminiscent of pawpaw, to me.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 9:24PM
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OK I'm no botanist- a physician yes, a homo sapiens sapiens yes- but one renting a house near Mystic, CT. A house which boasts a large south-facing kousa dogwood in the yard this sunny 9/16/08 and covered with red succulent raspberry-resembling fruit just as depicted in the appended link to a Wiki jpeg. Inspired by this and other threads I gave in to the siren song of these lovely red berries and sampled...and then gorged myself on their delicious contents, free for the taking.
The horny encasements which so resemble ripe raspberries from a distance are, in fact, tough camouflage but therefore lend themselves perfectly to a simple extraction of the contained delight: a gentle squeeze at the apex bursts the stem end off and empties the yellow-orange slimy pulp into your hand. Toss this into your gob and then and let your tongue savor the complexity of topical flavors: the unequivocally sweet mango-and-butternut-squash admixed essence, before you separate out the 3-4 hard inedible seeds that you must inconspicuously expectorate to their natural destination of turf, prior to swallowing the small aliquot that remains of the ambrosia so easily harvested from any single easily-accessible fruit - all gratis, at no cost, and for free. Then notice that there remain for your convenience innumerable berries: plenty enough on a single mature Kousa to sate an army of starving gluttons. For some reason ignored by the usual opportunists, perhaps intrinsically resistant to attack by any parasites or mange so that every fruit is perfectly formed- unsullied and provided for your convenient pleasure as if by Eden's bounty.

No tachycardia nor toxicity - just a charming free lunch, courtesy of Providence -and for no apparent reason- one which is as yet undiscovered by the world at large, as improbable as chancing upon the strawberry plant in a world where strawberries have never been noticed to be edible.

Dogwoods can and do bear fruit: I really like them!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 4:30PM
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marbles_n_the_garden(DownEast Maine, Zone 5)

I made a jam from my mother's tree. It smelled a bit like a nectarine or apricot to me. It was very easy to jam as once the fruit was expelled, it had the consistency of baby food apricots. Since they do not ripen all at once, I plan to go back and get more.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 10:27AM
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I too have made jam out of the Kousa fruits. It has quite a pleasant flavor but in making the jam the gritty cells from the skin mix with the pulp and made for a "sandy" jam. Next time I'll strain the juice through a jelly bag so as to eliminate the sandy texture.

I experiment with jams and jellies all the time with obscure fruits. Most turn out quite nicely, occasionally there are flops...Oh well!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 9:44PM
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I've had a "Big Apple" Kousa from Raintree in my front yard for about 5 years. The fruit can be eaten, but it's pretty dry and tasteless. Luckily the tree is attractive and it flowers much later than the other dogwoods, so it looks nice.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:42PM
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I worked a landscape nursery and sampled fruit from all the trees we had one fall. They varied in size and taste. Not surprising, since they are usually selected for flower, not fruit. Some weren't worth seconds, but the better ones were quite nice. Kind of a tropical taste, in my opinion. You must discard the exterior, though.

I hope to get several when budget allows. They're attractive and the fruit is a bonus.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 6:28PM
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Many years ago, I remember reading an article that warned against eating any part of dogwood trees. I'm sure the trees that were referred to were Cornus Florida, the common native dogwood, since the Kousa form was very rare back then (around 1960). The article reported that some boy scouts had become sick after using the branches to hold hot dogs over a fire. They had peeled off the bark, and the sap was said to be so poisonous that two of the scouts had died. In recent years, my two dogs have discovered the fruit of my large Cornus kousa Chinensis. They gorge themselves on the fruit, spitting out the skins and seeds. At first, I used to rake up the fruit to keep it out of their reach thinking that it was probably poisonous. I kept thinking of the unfortunate boy scouts that I had read about many years earlier. For the past few years I've begun to just let the dogs eat the fruit since they don't seem to have suffered any ill effects. After reading several web postings, both here and elsewhere, I've decided to sample some this year when they ripen. I now have about a dozen of these beautiful trees on my property since I transplanted "volunteers" to suitable locations. The trees grow amazingly fast, especially when they're young, and I've even sold several of them. Anyway, in answer to your question, my dogs good health is testament to the safety of eating these strange fruits.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:14AM
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They are delicious! But note, you cannot eat more than 15 or so before becoming adverse to them. Pick the squishiest, almost rotten ones and squeeze into your mouth. Mmmmmm! Severely rotten ones will taste like the smell of gasoline, and if you have the right ones (you will know the difference after picking for a while), they taste tropical. Not too sugary, and just a tad bland enough to have you seeking more for the tropical taste.

I suggest Cornus Kousa 'Samaritain'.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 8:40PM
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