Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)
During a weekend hike in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, I turned the corner on one of the winding trails and unexpectedly came across a cluster of bunchberries beneath tall cedar trees. This was my favourite find on a lovely, peaceful morning that I topped off with a visit to the garden centre. And as beautiful as the plants were at Southlands Nursery, nothing surpassed the delicate Cornus canadensis.
This dogwood (Cornus canadensis) only grows to around eight inches tall. If you get down on your belly, a patch of it looks like the tiniest imaginable dogwood forest. The leaves are the same, the flowers are the same, everything about it is like a big dogwood, only teency.
A shade-loving Northwest native woodland groundcover, it can be a bit fragile in gardens if its needs are imperfectly met, but spreads by underground runners & by seeds thriving marvelously if it finds itself in the right situation.Yes, fragile...and eventually dead. This is one of those native woodland plants I wanted in my balcony garden a few years ago. But C. canadensis needs moist, shady, cool conditions and prefers to grow near rotting stumps. So unsuitable for my balcony -- like trying to grow a fern in the desert.
Here are three more excellent links for botanical facts:
Note: Bunchberries are edible so I can legitimately include them on this blog if not in my actual edible balcony garden.