Bunchberry Dogwood (Cornus canadensis)

Bunchberry Dogwood (Cornus canadensis) 

Bunchberry Dogwood (Cornus canadensis) is one of only two herbs in the Dogwood Family (Cornaceae) and order Cornales. The family and order name are from the Latin for "cornel tree," a type of dogwood tree. The genus name is Latin for  "cherry tree" and probably refers to the red fruits produced by this plant. It grows to a height of about eight inches (20 centimeters).

The flowers are tiny, green to yellowish-green and set in the center of four white bracts that look like petals. Each bract set is about 1½ inches (4 centimeters) in diameter. It flowers from May to July.

The leaves are ovate, up to three inches (7.5 centimeters) long and arranged in a whorl beneath the flowers. Additional pairs of smaller leaves are usually further down on the stem beneath the whorl of leaves. Each leaf is pointed and has arced, radial veins.

The fruit is a red drupe (a seed in a hard covering encased in flesh) containing one, tan seed.

Bunchberry Dogwood Fruit

The root system is rhizomic.

Bunchberry Dogwoods make an excellent ground cover and help prevent erosion of the soil. Cultured varieties are sold by plant nurseries. The ripe drupes are edible and were used as bait to catch minnows.

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