Wildflowers of the United States

Home Journal Family Index - All States Photo Albums News About Privacy

Bunchberry, Bunchberry Dogwood, Dwarf Dogwood, Canadian Bunchberry, Dwarf Cornel, Creeping Dogwood - Cornus canadensis


Family: Cornaceae - Dogwood family Genus Common Name: Dogwood Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Cornus canadensis - Bunchberry, Bunchberry Dogwood, Dwarf Dogwood, Canadian Bunchberry, Dwarf Cornel, Creeping Dogwood. Bunchberry is found throughout most of Canada and the northern tier of states in the United States, and it pushes south in the mountain regions, all the way to Virginia in the east and to New Mexico in the west. It prefers cool, acidic soils and cannot survive if the soil gets warmer than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is listed as threatened or endangered in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, and Ohio. The berries are reported to be edible, if not especially tasty on their own.

My apology for these photos which do not do the plant justice. In northern Minnesota in September when these photos were taken you do not expect either the plant to be blooming, and this year the berries had already dropped. Additionally, the plant thrives in moist forests, and 2012 was a year of drought.

Found in:
AK, CO, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

Leave comments on Cornus canadensis at this link.
Cornus canadensis

Distribution of Cornus canadensis in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 28 Jun 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Search Our Database: Enter any portion of the Scientific, Common Name, or both.
Scientific name:
Common name:

Example: Enter "lob" in the common name field and you'll get all our species that have "lobelia" in the common name, as well as "sharp-lobed hepatica".

Do a general Google search of the entire site:



Follow on Twitter
Follow USWildflowers on Twitter










Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake County, MN Date: 2012-September-06Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Like that of the famous Flowering Dogwood tree (Cornus florida), the white or pinkish "petals" are really bracts, and the tiny flowers are clustered in the center of them. While Cornus florida has green to yellow flowers, Cornus canadensis has purple or white flowers. The plant normally flowers between May and July; these September blooms are a rarity.
Cornus canadensis

Site: St. Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Most frequently seen with a whorl of 4 leaves, Bunchberry may have as few as 2 leaves, and may have as many as 6 (or perhaps more.) The plant can grow up to about 8 inches tall. The attractive green leaves
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus canadensis

Site: St. Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
They can cover the ground in a carpet. This would have been quite lovely when in flower and also when the berries were on. Later in the fall the leaves will turn an attractive red.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus canadensis

Site: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ima Lake Date: 2015-September-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
In the fall the leaves turn an attractive red.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus canadensis

Site: St. Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The berries are red, and are found in a tight bunch, giving it the bunchberry common name.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Cornus canadensis

References used for identification and information:

Commercial / Cookie Notice

Looking for Wildflowers for a specific state? Check here:



All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer