Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) Leaves and Fruit in album plants

In Albums:plants

Photo of a plant on the forest floor with a cluster of bright red berries, and two radially arranged sets of leaves with well-defined veins.

Aug 13th, 2003, by Alex Zorach

This is a photo of a bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) plant, growing on the forest floor in Maine. I find this plant fascinating as it is so closely related to dogwood trees (other members of the Cornus genus), and resembles them so closely in terms of flower, fruit, and leaf shape, but this plant is not a tree, just a tiny plant growing on the forest floor, with a single flower and single bunch of fruit. Bunchberries are native to both North America and Northern Asia, and tend to grow in cooler, northern forests.

The fruit of bunchberries are edible, starchy (surprisingly filling), and nearly tasteless. If you find a large patch of these plants with fruit, they can make a good emergency food due to their high starch content and ready availability.