Canadian Bunchberry

Our Smallest Native Dogwood

Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) also know as creeping dogwood.
Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) is a woodland perennial flowering in late spring at Distant Hill Gardens. It only reaches a height of about 8 in (20 cm), unlike other taller native dogwoods that are shrubs or small trees. It grows in moist partial shade, often under conifers, and in wooded swamps, shaded bogs and peaty areas. It likes acidic soils, which we don't have much of on Distant Hill. Just a few Bunchberries grow on the acidic shore of the Cranberry Bog/fen under some native highbush blueberry plants.

According to Wikipedia, each bunchberry flower has highly elastic petals that flip backward, releasing springy filaments that are cocked underneath the petals. The filaments snap upward flinging pollen out of containers hinged to the filaments. This motion takes place in less than half a millisecond. This is one of the fastest plant actions known requiring a camera capable of shooting 10,000 frames per second to catch the action.


Cornus canadensis in known by a number of common names, including:

  • Canada dwarf-dogwood
  • Canadian dwarf cornel  
  • Crackerberry
  • Creeping dogwood
  • Eastern bunchberry