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Cornus canadensis

Bunchberry / Creeping Dogwood

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Bunchberry is a low-growing perennial that spreads by rhizomes that creep just under the soil surface. The four white "petals" are actually not part of the flower at all they are white bracts. The actual flowers are greenish and held in the center of the bracts. In late summer clusters of vivid red berries replace the flowers for a second season of interest. Birds such as spruce grouse and warbling vireo eat these berries and help to distribute the seeds. Bunchberry can be found growing throughout the northern half of North America, including most of Canada. It is often found in large colonies in areas of dappled shade or along the woods edge.

Benefits

Beautiful groundcover for moist, shady areas
Familiar white, four-bracted flowers face upwards
Red berries in fall attract birds and other wildlife
A dependable northern native
In Alaska it is an important forage plant for deer and moose

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Bunchberry prefers cool, acidic soils and will not tolerate summer soil temperatures above 65º F. Adequate moisture and good drainage are key. Bunchberry will even grow in rocky crevices if rainfall is sufficient. It can also be grown in bog gardens. It is not tolerant of alkaline soils.


Height
6-8 Inches

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Spread
2-3 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-6

Native Range

Native to woodlands sunny edges and bogs across the northern US and most of Canada

Distribution Maps by State and County

Native Trivia

Bunchberry has an explosive pollination mechanism whereby a tiny antennae near the tip of a petals trigger the flower buds to bend back and the anthers to spring outward. This motion takes place in less than half a millisecond and the pollen experiences two to three thousand times the force of gravity.


"Berries are an important food for us as we store up energy for winter survival or migration!"

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Low Perennials
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Shade
Soil
Acidic
Humus-rich
Well-drained
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Reptiles
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Ground cover
Mass plant
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Rock garden
Native to
Alaska
Arkansas
Colorado
Connecticut
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Montana
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming