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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.


  • 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.

6-8 Inches


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
  • Filtered Shade
  • Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
  • Shade
  • 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
  • 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