Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)
|Also known as:||Bunchberry Dogwood, Creeping Dogwood|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; acidic soil; moist woods, bogs|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 8 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single cluster of tiny greenish to creamy white stalked flowers in the center of four large white bracts that look like petals. Flowers have 4 creamy yellow stamens and a dark, reddish brown style in the center. The bracts are broadly oval, tapered to a soft point; typically one pair of opposite bracts is slightly larger than the other pair. The cluster, including bracts, is about ¾ to 1 inch across with a single cluster at the top of the stem.
Leaves and stem:
2 or 3 pairs of leaves, appearing as a whorl of 4 or 6 leaves, is just below the flower cluster, with a few pairs of small to scale-like opposite leaves along the lower stem. Leaves are broadly elliptic to diamond-shaped, 1½ to 3 inches long, toothless, sometimes wavy around the edges, tapered to a soft point at the tip, tapering at the base to a short stalk. 2 to 3 pairs of laterals veins arise from the base end of the midvein. Surfaces are variably covered in appressed hairs though may become smooth. Usually if whorled in 4s they are all of similar size; if 6, one opposite pair is slightly larger than the other 2 pairs. Stems are unbranched, arsing from creeping woody rhizomes on the ground.
Notes:A species of cool, moist woods and bogs, Bunchberry's woody rhizomes can form large dense colonies in northern boreal forests that—both in flower or in fruit—produce stunning arrays.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin, Cass and St. Louis counties.
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