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!
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.
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.
Not many people still use them, but they make very tasty sauces and jams.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk