‘Rutpink’ is a new kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) cultivar released from the woody ornamentals breeding program of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) and Rutgers University and is marketed under the name Scarlet Fire® dogwood (Fig. 1). It exhibits a moderately vigorous, upright growth habit with dark-green foliage and, most notably, large, dark-pink floral bracts (Fig. 2). It has also shown strong field tolerance to the pathogens causing dogwood anthracnose (Discula destructiva) and powdery mildew (primarily Erysiphe pulchra). Trees of ‘Rutpink’ have exhibited no winter injury under field tests in New Brunswick, NJ, in Zone 7a [0 to 5 °F (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2012)]. ‘Rutpink’ was derived from the open pollination of a C. kousa seedling (Rutgers K187-44) held in the Rutgers germplasm collection. A parentage analysis using nine single sequence repeat (SSR) markers was conducted to identify its male parent from a pool of 28 potential contributors; results identified the breeding selection Rutgers KN123-6.
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