Bunchberry dogwood, Canadian bunchberry
Cornaceae (Dogwood Family)
The slender 3-6 in. stalks of this perennial,
woodland ground cover are topped by a whorl of oval,
pointed leaves above which rises a white to greenish, dogwood blossom. Erect stems grow in extensive low patches, with 1 whorl of leaves at top and, just above, a cluster of tiny greenish flowers surrounded by 4 ovate
white or pinkish bracts. The flower
cluster resembles a single large flower
held on a short stalk above leaves. A cluster of bright red berries follows. The leaves, which are dark-green and shiny in summer, become wine-red in fall. It spreads by underground stems.
Among the smallest of a genus
of mostly shrubs and trees, Bunchberry makes an excellent ground cover in the moist woodland garden and is equally attractive in flower
or fruit. Its natural range extends from Greenland across northern North America to northeast Asia. In
the continental US, it is limited mostly to mountainous regions. This showy wildflower and Northern Dwarf Cornel (C. suecica
) of the northern forests are the only herbs in the dogwood group, the other members being trees or shrubs. C. suecica
ranges across northern Eurasia and much of northern North America, as far south as the St. Lawrence River and as far east as Nova Scotia. It has small purple flowers surrounded by 4 bracts.
The genus cornus is Latin for a horn.
Image Gallery: 26 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WY Canada: AB
, QC Native Distribution:
Greenland across northern North America to northeast Eurasia. Lab. to AK,
s. to MD, VA
mts., OH, MN, SD, NM
mts. & n. CA. Native Habitat:
Coniferous & mixed woods; thickets; cedar swamps; damp openings
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Damp, cool, acid soil or peat moss.
Conditions Comments: Bunchberry makes an excellent ground cover in cool, damp, acidic places. Mulching with peat moss or pine needles is beneficial.
BenefitUse Food: In
late summer, dense clusters of small, red berries replace the flowers. Some people enjoy these juicy fruits, with their crunchy little seeds, but others consider them mealy and tasteless. Bunchberries can be eaten as a trail nibble or added to puddings, preserves and sauces. (Kershaw) Conspicuous Flowers: