Cornus canadensis

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Cornus canadensis L.


Life form: perennial
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun - Exposure: half shade   2

Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam - Soil: sandy clay

Arrangement: whorled
Leaves: decidious

Shape: obovate

Division: simple


Shape: cruciform
Fruit: drupe

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Inflorescence: cyme

Petals: not specified
Habit: not specified

Growth form: mat-forming



Cornus canadensis, commonly known as Bunch Berry, Creeping Dogwood, is a perennial.


Cornus canadensis was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The name is considered as validly published.


Cornus canadensis is a species in the genus Cornus which contains approximately 67 to 87 species and belongs to the family of the Cornaceae (Dogwood Family). The type species of the genus is Cornus mas.


Cornus canadensis - habitus
Cornus canadensis - leaves
Cornus canadensis - fruits


The perennials reach heights of 10 to 15 centimetres and are comparatively slow-growing and long-lived. They have a prostrate habit and spread rapidly. The main growing season is in spring and summer. The plants reach a width of 30 to 40 centimetres.


Cornus canadensis is deciduous. The dark-green, simple leaves are whorled. They are obovate with entire margins. The surface of the leaves is glabrous. The foliage is dense and turns an attractive bright orange in autumn.

Flowers and Fruits

Cornus canadensis produces cymes of showy, white cruciform flowers from May to June. The plants flower on this years shoots.

From summer to autumn the perennials produce only few ornamental red drupes that are persistent on the plant.

Root System

The plants produce rhizomes which give rise to vegetative spread.


Cornus canadensis is native to Alaska, Canada, the Northeast of the US, the central Northeast of the US, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest of the US, the Northwest of the US, California, Greenland, the Kamtschatka Peninsula, Sakhalin, Korea and Japan.


The perennials prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on moderately moist soil. They prefer sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy or sandy clay soil with a pH between 5,5 and 6,9. The plants need a soil depth of at least 25 centimetres for good growth. They tolerate temperatures down to -45°C (USDA zone 2) and need a frost-free period of at least 14 weeks.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • woodland borders (soil usually rich in humus)

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • none: soil salinity, anaerobic soil
  • low: drought, calcareous soil


The ornamental value of Cornus canadensis lies especially in the attractive autumn aspect. The recommended planting distance is 20 to 30 centimetres, the perennials are best planted in groups of 10 to 15. Suited for moorland gardens and for rockeries, as well as suited as groundcover and as container plant.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants need little to no maintenance if grown under suitable conditions.

Propagate by sowing. The seeds require vernalization. Also by cuttings.


Pests and Diseases

Spots on leaves and withering shoots indicate an infection with anthracnose. This is a fungus that may cause the plants to die. Destroy affected parts and improve ventilation and hygiene.

Leaf blotches are a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection. Bacterial spots are rather angular and yellow-rimmed while fungal spots usually are rather rounded with an area of fruiting bodies. Destroy affected parts, additionaly apply fungizide it is is a fungal infection.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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