An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Bunchberry Fruiting

7-24-14 bunchberry fruit IMG_8240Bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, is among the smallest of a genus of mostly shrubs and trees, and the only dogwood species that is herbaceous. The white flowers (resembling one flower, but actually consisting of many flowers , each 2 mm in diameter, surrounded by four modified leaves, called bracts) develop into red fruits which some people and a few birds, including ruffed grouse, veeries and vireos, find tasty. Bunchberry prefers cool, acidic soil — look for it where you find partridgeberry, goldthread and twinflower. If you find it, look closely, as Nashville warblers sometimes nest beneath it.

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7 responses

  1. ludds2014

    I’ve noticed this year that flowering bunchberries all have six leaves, while non-flowering ones all have four………. I wonder if you can explain this?

    July 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    • Fascinating. I’ll have to start counting leaves. It does make sense, as more leaves = more stored food = more flowers/fruit?

      July 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm

  2. viola

    Love this little beauty! Showy at all times. And its construction is so interesting with the real flowers being the little bunch in the center surrounded by the four functionless bracts.

    July 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm

  3. viola

    Yes, Mary and ludds 2014, Mary’s conclusion is correct: four leaves for an immature plant and six leaves for a mature, flowering plant. The same is true of Jack-in-the-pulpits. One may see small J-i-t-P leaves by themselves one year, no Jack or Pulpit. This is usually true the first year after the original J-i-t-P has fruited. In an other year one may see a J-i-t-P with ONE compound three-parted leaf on a long stem. And in yet another year one might see the J-i-t-P with TWO compound leaves, this according to the amount of stored food/energy.

    July 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

  4. Cloe

    The dismaying new classification of bunchberry is Chamaepericlymenum canadense 😦

    July 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm

  5. Beautiful image! I love the little ‘stars’ of moss.

    July 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

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