Foraging Wild Fruit: Canada Dwarf-dogwood

Photo of Canada Dwarf-dogwood fruit

This sub-shrub of New England forests is called Canada Dwarf-dogwood (Chamaepericlymenum canadense). Many books label this plant Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), but updated taxonomies have placed this species in a different genus within the Dogwood (Cornaceae) family. Canada Dwarf-dogwood fruit is edible, though not particularly flavorful. Each fleshy red drupe contains one (or two) hard seeds that are fine to swallow. This is not a wild food I gather by the bucket-full, but I do enjoy snacking on a handful when I find myself among a fruiting patch.

Photo of Canada Dwarf-dogwood flowers

Flowering plants produce a showy false flower which is composed of four white bracts and surrounds numerous tiny true flowers with white petals (in the photo above, the true flowers are not yet open). Paired leaves are clustered at the tops of plants, giving the appearance of a whorl. Non-flowering plants have four similarly sized leaves; flowering plants have two large and four smaller leaves.

Who, besides Canada Dwarf-dogwood, is in the following forest floor photo? Leave a comment below.

Photo of Canada Dwarf-dogwood patch

8 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Fruit: Canada Dwarf-dogwood”

    1. I hear ya, Mal. The common names I use aren’t always so common. That’s because I use plant names (both common and scientific) from the New England Wild Flower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae (available in online form at GoBotany). I appreciate the up-to-date taxonomy and generally useful common names, but they don’t always reflect popular usage.

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