Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Bunchberry is a very common perennial woodland plant, found almost everywhere except in deep shade: edges, gaps, hedgerows, open-canopy hardwoods. Often about 15 cm high, with 4 – 6 whorled leaves, its tiny flower appears in June and July. This little flower has only one petal, but the much larger petal-like bracts make it quite conspicuous, and show its relation with other dogwood types. The bright red ‘berries’ cluster near the ground and invite any passer-by (bird, mouse, human) to try them. The taste is rather bland, but they are quite edible, and thus are consumed by many, including me.


Bunchberry relies heavily on vegetative reproduction through its spreading rhizomes, so it is often found in large colonies or clones which can survive for decades. It can be grown from seed, although germination requires both light and a preceding cold treatment. It can also be started from transplanting a clump into a moist, shady location where the soil is not too heavy. It makes a nice addition to a wild garden, although it may be moderately difficult to start.

Upcoming Events

9:00 am Nature Discovery Week 1
Nature Discovery Week 1
Jul 17 @ 9:00 am – Jul 21 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will introduce the children to the woods, stream and native tree nursery that surround our Nature Center. The campers will delight in learning to use all their senses to understand the natural world,
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 2
Becoming a Naturalist Week 2
Jul 24 @ 9:00 am – Jul 28 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
A walk and talk looking at the native and introduced mammals still found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief presentation, we’ll head off