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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Gordon Neish     (Photo ID #14886)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Cornus canadensis
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
923 0 2500
Slope Gradient (%)
17 0 350

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

332 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Chamaepericlymenum canadense (L.) Asch. & Graebn.
Cornella canadensis (L.) Rydb.
Cornus canadensis var. dutillyi (Lepage) B. Boivin

Taxonomic 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