Milky Way Dogwood

Botanical Name: Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’

Alternate Name: Milky Way Kousa Dogwood 

The Milky Way Dogwood is a stunning, summer blooming ornamental dogwood. It is a small deciduous shrub or tree. The Milky Way Dogwood can be grown as a multi-trunk or standard tree. This tree’s growth habit is initially vase-shaped and later matures into a rounded, bushy form. It is smaller than other dogwoods and grows to a height and width of 15-20 feet. Cornus kousa originates in Asia – namely Korea, China, and Japan.

The canopy of the Milky Way Dogwood is covered in huge, white blossoms in early summer after the tree has leafed out. This is typical of Korean dogwoods (Cornus kousa). The blooms are actually made up of four, white pointed bracts, and the true flowers are found at the center – yellowish-green in color. The bract ‘flowers’ measure 3-5 inches in diameter.

Big red berries develop on the tree later in the summer – 1.5 inches in size. They are edible and attract birds to the tree. Butterflies are also attracted by the blooms, making this a good wildlife tree. The berries persist on the tree past the foliage drop, giving it winter interest.

The leaves of the Milky Way Dogwood are dark green, oval, and pointed. They have the typical dogwood parallel venation. The foliage turns a bright orange and red in the fall.

No serious insect or disease problems. Cornuskousa ‘Milky Way’ has excellent resistance to anthracnose. It can become susceptible to borers when stressed. Leaf scorch can occur in hot and windy conditions.


Height: 15-20 ft.

Width: 15-20 ft.

Shape: Pyramidal, Broad

Flower Color: Light to rose pink

Flowering Time: June

Fall Color: Orange, Red

Features: Stunning spring flower display, big red berries, bright fall color, attractive exfoliating bark

Exposure: Sun to part shade

Watering: Moderate & Regular

Soil: Moist, rich and acidic to neutral, well-drained soil, but adaptable to different soil types.

Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate

USDA Zones: 5-9

Uses: Specimen/accent tree, patio tree, lawn tree, shade tree, massed plantings, mixed borders, wildlife gardens

Similar trees: Cornus x ‘Eddie’s White Wonder,’ Cornus kousa 'Venus'