Cornus canadensis, also known as dwarf cornel or bunchberry, is a beautiful and versatile shrubby ground cover that can add colour and interest to any landscape. This low-growing perennial herb has a woody base and erect stems reaching up to 25 cm in height. Its leaves are evergreen and arranged in a whorl, with green tops and whitish undersides. Cornus canadensis produces umbrella-shaped clusters of small, white to pinkish flowers in late spring, followed by bright red edible fruits in late summer.
Bunchberry is a perfect fit for cool, damp, acidic areas and can thrive in various light conditions, from full sun to shade. It prefers moist soil rich in peat moss or pine needles, and its high water use makes it a great addition to rain gardens or streamside plantings.
Aside from being a stunning ground cover, Cornus canadensis has medicinal and edible properties. Its leaves and stems have been used for centuries to treat aches and pains, kidney and lung ailments, coughs, and fevers, and as an eye wash. Its fruits are rich in pectin, a capillary tonic, and can be eaten raw or cooked, added to breakfast cereals or used for making jams, pies, and puddings. Pectin is also said to protect the body against radiation.
With its beautiful foliage, attractive flowers, and edible fruits, Cornus canadensis is an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add beauty and functionality to their landscapes. Try it out as a ground cover, in rain gardens or streamside plantings, or simply enjoy its medicinal and edible benefits.
References https://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/ https://www.wildflower.org/plants/ http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/ Photo credit Wikipedia
Excellent ground cover in cool, damp, acidic places. Mulching with peat moss or pine needles is beneficial.
General: 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.
Leaves: 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.
Flowers: 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.
Fruits: Fleshy drupes, 6-8 mm long, bright coral red when mature, usually several.