Cornus canadensis
Cornaceae/Dogwood Family

Dwarf Dogwood (aka bunchberry) grows in woods, tundra and low alpine habitats. It is about 4-8" tall and has one small pair of leaves near the base and a whorl of leaves at the top. The tiny flowers sit in the center of a cluster of 4 white bracts (modified leaves), that look like flower petals. Those large showy leaves help to guide the pollinators (flies) to the tiny flowers. Each flower has very elastic petals that flip backward when an insect touches a trigger hair on the petal. The flowers burst open and stamens launch pollen into the air in less than half a millisecond. That is less time than it takes a bullet to leave a riffle barrel as the pollen under goes 800 times the acceleration that the Space Shuttle does during lift off. The red fruits are edible with a mild apple-like flavor. Here in Alaska, dwarf dogwood is an important forage plant for deer and moose.

Cornus canadensis Dwarf Dogwood Drawf Dogwood Bunchberry Carpets


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