FloraFinder.org
Home   About Us   Want to Help?   FAQ  
Searching   Image Use Biblio

Cornus canadensis

Cornus canadensis L.

Chamaepericlymenum canadense (L.) Asch. & Graebn.

Cornella canadensis (L.) Rydb.

Cornus canadensis L. var. dutillyi (Lepage) B. Boivin

Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderCornalesIncludes dogwoods, hydrangeas, stickleafs, tupelos, even sillyberries
FamilyCornaceaeDogwood family
GenusCornusLatin for “a horn”
Speciescanadensis“From Canada”

About plant names...

Bunchberry is a native of mid- to northern North America.

Identification: Bunchberry (which has many other common names, not all of which are listed here) rarely exceeds 8" (20 cm) in height. It is the smallest member of the dogwood family. It has alternate pairs of oval leaves, oriented for maximum exposure, to sop up the light on the dappled forest floors it favors. I often see these plants in large, almost continuous mats. The four white “flower petals” are really bracts—modified leaves. They surround the real flowers, a tiny cluster of greenish flowers. The flowers grow into a dense group of bright red berries (the “bunch”). The low growth (often just two inches), orderly leaf clusters, and bright red closely packed berries are identifiers.

The flower structure forms a powerful, spring-loaded launch facility for the pollen, a unique mechanism among flowering plants, as described by its discoverer, Dr. Ted Mosquin:

Then with dissecting needles I began opening one of the buds, only to discover that it seemed to transform itself in a fraction of a second into a fully open flower. I turned to a second bud, opened it and found four normal-looking, fully developed, undehisced anthers. I tried a third and was again surprised by what appeared to be a tiny explosion and what seemed like a small amount of pollen flying in all directions. I realized then that I might be looking at a unique phenomenon-perhaps never before witnessed by humans and perhaps undescribed. It was then that I began to pay more attention to another unusual characteristic of each flower. On the abaxial side and near the tip of one of the four petals of each unopened flower and projecting upward was a miniature “antenna” just over one mm long. It did not take long to establish that even the slightest touch of the dissecting needle to the antenna of any “ready to pop” flower would trigger the explosive mechanism; the petals would reflex, the anthers would spring out simultaneously like four tiny catapults and shoot their entire pollen loads into the air above the inflorescence.[1]

Edibility: Ripe berries are edible, though they contain a hard seed and are fairly tasteless. They can be cooked into puddings.

Online References:

Cornus canadensis in Paghat's Garden

Cornus canadensis on Earl J.S. Rook's Flora, Fauna, Earth, and Sky ... The Natural History of the Northwoods

Cornus canadensis on CalPhotos

Cornus canadensis on Wikipedia

Cornus canadensis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Cornus canadensis at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Cornus canadensis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Cornus canadensis on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Cornus canadensis on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

References:

Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 20

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 8.8 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

5/15/2010 · By Constance B. Kent

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

9/20/2014 · Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

5/14/2010 · Beaver Brook Association Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/8/2015 · Mt. Wachusett
≈ 7 × 7" (18 × 17 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/15/2015 · Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, ME
≈ 31 × 21" (79 × 53 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/15/2015 · Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, ME
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 16 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 5 × 5" (13 × 13 cm)

1The full article, “The explosive pollination mechanism in Cornus canadensis L.,” is available here.

Cornus canadensis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 30 May 2016.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

9/20/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

7/6/2012

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

3/25/2012 · By Philip A. Despo

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

6/2/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

9/18/2016 · Barred Island Preserve, Deer Isle, ME

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

7/15/2012 · Fort Point State Park, Stockton Springs, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

9/18/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

6/9/2016 · Monhegan Island, ME

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
≈ 12 × 8" (31 × 20 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/15/2015 · Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, ME
≈ 15 × 10" (37 × 25 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

5/26/2016 · Pearl Hill State Park, Ashby, MA

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

6/2/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

8/1/2009 · Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Canadian Dwarf Cornel, Canadian Bunchberry, Crackerberry, Bunchberry Dogwood)

5/15/2010 · By Constance B. Kent

Range:

About this map...