Cornus canadensis


Habit: low growing member of the Cornaceae family that remains evergreen in most of the Pacific Northwest. Bunchberry is a petite slow growing rhizomatous groundcover, with 4-7 large leaves that whorl around the top of a short stem and forming a carpet-like mat. The inflorescence is a small cluster of 15-20 tiny purplish-white flowers subtended by four petal-like bracts, giving the appearance of one large flower. Fruit ripens into a tight cluster of coral berry-like drupes.  Blooms in the summer between May and July, depending on location. In the fall, the leaves have red tinted veins and turn completely red.

Ecology: found in moist to wet forests, and bogs, from Greenland into the Northern United States, and sporadically into New Mexico up to elevations of 3600 ft (1100 m).

Growing Conditions: prefers partial shade in moist well-drained soil.  Needs acidic soil, as well as organic matter. Finicky, not liking its feet dry and above 65 degrees.

Cornus canadensis grows and reproduces via underground rhizomes that have been reported to grow up to 14 ft (4 m) long, and recorded at 36 years old, through this process an individual is able to become a large clonal groundcover.

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Type: Groundcover
Height: 2-8 in (5-20 cm)
Width: 6-12 in (15-30 cm)
USDA Zones: 2-7
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.