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Posts tagged “Dogwood family

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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Bunchberry Fruit

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In late summer, before the thrushes, veeries and warbling vireos consume them all, the scarlet fruits of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) adorn the floor of moist, coniferous woods. Although edible, either raw or cooked, these berries lack a distinctive flavor.  Even so,  Native Americans used them in puddings and sauces.  A dwarf version of flowering dogwood, bunchberry grows in colonies that develop from an underground stem, or rhizome.