File Under: Weird Food

Earlier this year I discovered that the fruit from the Kousa Dogwood tree (Cornus kousa) are edible and I’ve been waiting until the end of summer to get a taste.

The first fruit on my friend Barry’s tree are starting to ripen and I managed, over the weekend, to collect a few from out of the clutches of the neighborhood squirrels. The fruit are ripe and optimal eating when they turn from green to bright red, and from hard to squishy. You should be able to squish the orange fruit from the centre easily. That happens to be just how I ate my bounty. The skin is unpleasant tasting. It looks like a lychee, with the texture of some of my favourite tropicals, sugar apple and sour sop. The insides are bright orange and soft, with a couple of hard pits. It tastes like papaya.

I’ve read that there is a lot of variation between trees and varieties, so if you have the chance, I’d suggest trying fruit from a sampling of trees. The fruit I ate are small but tasty. They are from a landscape tree that is bred for the flowers, not the fruit. But there are varieties with much larger fruit that are worth searching out if you’re looking for more than a light snack.


  • Paw Paw (Asimina triloba): A local and unusual tree fruit that is also coming into season.
  • Search this site by the tag, Weird Edibles to find out about other unusual vegetables, herbs, and fruit to grow or forage.
Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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6 thoughts on “File Under: Weird Food

  1. Gayla, this is so exciting – we have several of these trees on the corporate center where I work. I was so happy to know the fruits were edible, I went to pick two of them for an impromptu snack. They tasted like a very sweet papaya. I cannot wait until the rest of the fruits ripen, no doubt I will bring some home!

  2. i have looking for some interesting fruits to grow in our zone. This might be a possibility! Is Barry’s variety a heavy producer?

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