There are times when I feel utterly foolish, and this is one of them.

Remember back in the spring, when I was puzzling over the “tardy dogwood” in the backyard of the Temporary Garden? The one that was two or three weeks behind the seemingly-identical dogwood next to the driveway? Flowers and leaves looked the same; only the flowering time was slightly different. Well, it’s now early October and both dogwoods are fruiting.


Cornus florida berriesThis is the driveway dogwood, which according to these berries is Cornus florida. There are actually very few of these berries; I had a hard time finding any to photograph!




Cornus kousa fruitCornus kousa detailThis, however, is the backyard dogwood. Obviously not the same species! Ooops. This tree, which is festooned with about a bazillion fruits, turns out to be Cornus kousa.

Hmmph, could’ve fooled me (and did.)

Smarting with embarassment at having assumed that both dogwoods were the same, I researched the differences between C. florida and C. kousa – other than the ridiculously obvious fruit. These are:
C. kousa leaves are a bit smaller (I admit I never measured them.)
C. kousa flowers are a bit smaller and have a very slightly greenish tinge (I might have noticed this if the trees were anywhere near each other… but then again, maybe not.)
C. kousa flowers “later in the spring and summer” (well, we’re talking three weeks, max; but the actual bloom period was definitely longer than C. florida.)

The kousa is absolutely loaded with fruits from top to bottom which, although they are undoubtedly decorative at the moment, are going to pose a massive cleanup problem if not eaten by birds — and, barring the arrival of a Hitchcockian-size flock of starving starlings, I can’t imagine that happening. Besides, they are pretty darn large and I have no idea which birds would even attempt to eat them.

Now excuse me as I slink away, face red with shame for not being able to differentiate between this duo of duplicitous dogwoods!