bunchberry dogwood plant is a low-growing perennial that is usually
under eight inches tall. It has one or two whorls of leaves at the
top of each stem. These leaves are generally oblong shaped and have
deep, well-defined veins that point toward the tip. They are a dark
green color on top an are slightly shiny.
Bunchberry can be found growing throughout
the Upper Great Lakes area. It is found as far north as Canada and
Greenland and as far south as New Mexico. It usually grows in cool,
moist locations. Bunchberry prefers well-drained but damp soil on
the forest floor.
flowers of the bunchberry form between June and August. They are
white and seem to have four petals. In fact, the white part is called
a "bract" and the really flower is the tiny cluster of
greenish-yellow heads in the center. Later in the summer, small
red berries form where the flowers once were. Even though these
berries are kind of tasteless, some people use them to make jam.
Birds and animals that eat these berries help to distribute the
seeds to new locations. Moose, Spruce Grouse, and Warbling Vireo
like dining on the bunchberry fruits.
Besides seeds, the bunchberry dogwood can also reproduce by rhizomes
that spread along just under the soil's surface. This is why bunchberry
is often found in large colonies in a single location. It also means
that they are easily disturbed by disruptions in the soil. Its Latin
name means horns or antlers or Canada.
to Ecosystems of the Upper Peninsula