Foraging Wild Fruit: Kousa Dogwood

Kousa Big-bracted-dogwood (Benthamia japonica), or Kousa Dogwood, is a commonly planted ornamental tree with showy flower-like bracts in spring and fruit resembling lollipops in late summer.

Photo of Kousa Dogwood

Not only is the fruit distinctive and often terrifically abundant, but it is also edible. Every year I snack on this tree when its fruit is in season, enjoying the one-of-a-kind treat that this tree provides. You'll know the fruit is ready when you find the ground under a tree dotted with drops. Search for fruit that is dark red and slightly soft and that easily detaches from the branches. I recommend sampling a few to get a sense of the spectrum of ripeness -- from hard and dry to overly mushy and rank.

Photo of Kousa Dogwood drops

The pulp is what I eat, which I squeeze out of the skin and separate from the seeds in my mouth. Here's a series of photos showing the process:

A perfectly ripe fruit of Kousa Dogwood
Remove the stem, and split the fruit in half – if it's ripe, it'll be noticeably juicy
Suck the pulp from the skin and spit out the large seeds

The pulp tastes to me like a tropical fruit purée. Give this fruit a try, and let us know below what you think it tastes like.

7 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Fruit: Kousa Dogwood”

  1. Love how you show the process in pictures. Great detail! I will get back to you here on how I think they taste when they appear this year.

  2. just saw our first one today…touched the fruit to our tongues…was really sweet…never saw a tree or rather fruit like this before…came home to google it and find out what they are and if they are edible 🙂 Thanks for all your info!!

  3. Just found these at the library today, came home and google it. YOU are spot on, wanted to know if they were edible. Thanks alot, they are very tasty…

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