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Bunchberry (Dwarf Dogwood)

Cornus canadensis

Photo: Nancy Turner

Bunchberry

APPEARANCE

Bunchberry grows give to 25 centimetres tall and has four to seven bright green leaves in a whorl at the top of its stem. Its flowers have four large white “petals” (actually leaves) that appear in early spring. The pollen is exploded from the flowers by a catapult hidden inside them. Bright red berries ripen by August and the birds love to eat them.

RANGE & HABITAT

Bunchberry can be found across Canada in forested upland and wetland areas. This plant was originally introduced from Europe!

LIFE CYCLE

Bunchberries flower in May and June, later in Northern Mountains and frequently flower a second time in the fall. After the bloom the main flower forms into bunched bright red berries. This plant is found in the Sub-Boreal Interior and the Central Interior ecoprovinces.

ANIMAL USES

Bunchberries are eaten by deer, grouse, and songbirds.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The berries were eaten mixed with other berries (huckleberries, saskatoons, etc.) as a glue to hold them together. Sometimes they were steamed and eaten in winter, but usually considered bear and bird food.

MODERN USES

Not many people still use them, but they make very tasty sauces and jams.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.bcadventure.com

Photo: Hobson