E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Cornus canadensis L.
bunchberry (bunchberry dogwood; Canadian bunchberry)
Cornaceae (Dogwood family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Gordon Neish  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14886)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Cornus canadensis
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Low, trailing perennial herb from a rhizome with a somewhat woody base; stems erect, solitary, simple, 5-25 cm tall, minutely hairy, greenish to reddish, leafless or with bracts on the lower part.
Evergreen more or less, 4-7 in a terminal whorl, oblong egg-shaped to diamond-shaped, short-stalked, 2-8 cm long, green above, whitish beneath, lateral veins arising from the midvein in the lower third of the leaf.
Inflorescence of a solitary, stalked, umbrella-shaped cluster subtended by 4 white to pinkish or purplish-tinged, broadly to narrowly egg-shaped bracts; petals 1-1.5 mm long, greenish-white with a purplish tinge.
Fleshy drupes, 6-8 mm long, bright coral red when mature, usually several.
Hybrids between C. canadensis and C. suecica have been treated as either a variety of C. canadensis (var. intermedia Farr.) or as a separate species (C. unalaschkensis Ledeb.). The latter taxon is a common tetraploid with features between its parents.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Red
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic forests and openings in all but the alpine zone; common throughout BC; amphiberingian, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to MN, PA, NM and CA; E. Asia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

An excellent native groundcover for part shade and loose humusy soils. Produces lovely white dogwood flowers and red berries. Fall foliage becomes nicely tinted with red and burgundy.

Coniferous woods, thickets and damp clearings in peaty soils.

Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials


Ecological Framework for Cornus canadensis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 923 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 17 350
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 332 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(1), BAFA(5), BWBS(1572), CDF(4), CMA(4), CWH(2643), ESSF(2164), ICH(3604), IDF(530), MH(277), MS(1501), PP(3), SBPS(374), SBS(3649), SWB(244)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant, sub montane to subalpine, Asian and transcontinental North American forb. Occurs in boreal and cool temperate climates. Scattered to plentiful in the mossy understory of coniferous forests on water-shedding and water-receiving sites, on nitrogen-poor soils. Often inhabits decaying wood, sides of large stumps and tree trunks, and topographic prominences in nutrient-poor wetlands. Oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Chamaepericlymenum canadense (L.) Asch. & Graebn.
Cornella canadensis (L.) Rydb.
Cornus canadensis var. dutillyi (Lepage) B. Boivin

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References