Flowering Dogwood, Kousa Dogwood, and Cornellian Cherry Dogwood

There are three species of dogwood that accent the buildings of Harvard Yard. Each can be easily identified in the winter by their flower buds. The flowering dogwood, the only native one in the Yard, has round, almost pumpkin-shaped flower buds. In addition, its bark when mature divides into blocks.

Flowering dogwood.

Flowering dogwoods around mid-may. There are also white flowering dogwoods in the Yard, which are the most common type found in the wild. This is the only dogwood planted in the Yard that is native to the US.

The kousa dogwood, a native of Japan, has flower buds with pointed tips. Its bark is also distinctive, exfoliating into small patches.


Kousa dogwood.

The kousa dogwood is likely planted in large quantities in the Yard because it blooms at the beginning of June, at the same time as commencement.

The fruit of the kousa dogwood in late summer. This helps give the tree the nickname, the Japanese strawberry tree. One should definitely not eat the fruit though.

The Cornellian cherry dogwood has heart-shaped buds.

Cornellian cherry dogwood.

These Cornellian cherry dogwood flower buds get a head start to spring.

This the the earliest dogwood to bloom in the Yard, blooming as early as late March, early April. The fruits during the fall look like little cherries (Don't eat them though).

Virginia Tech Dendrology info - flowering dogwood, kousa dogwood, Cornellian cherry dogwood

Created by Ryan Lynch

Map template courtesy the Harvard Planning and Allston Initiative

Last updated May 2, 2007