Canadian Bunchberry | Crackerberry – Cornus canadensis
Canadian Bunchberry, Cornus Canadensis, also known as Crackberry, is a slow-growing perennial herbaceous fruit bearing shrub, growing 10–20 cm tall, generally forming a carpet-like mat. The above-ground shoots of the Canadian Bunchberry rise from slender creeping rhizomes that are placed 2.5–7.5 cm deep in the soil and form multiple colonies under trees.
Cornus Canadensis vertically produced, above-ground stems, are thin and unbranched. The leaves are oppositely arranged on the stem, but are clustered with six leaves that often seem to be in a whorl because the internodes are compressed. The spiral evergreen leaves develop near the terminal node and consist of two types: two larger and four smaller leaves. The smaller leaves develop from the auxiliary buds of the larger leaves.
The shiny dark green leaves have 2 to 3 mm long stems and leaf blades with entire margins that are oviform with the narrower end at the base. A tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of aches and pains, kidney and lung ailments, coughs and fevers.
Blossoms are born in dense cluster of small greenish-white to purplish flowers above the leaf “whorl” in early summer. They consist of 4 large, showy, coloured lightly white to purple petal-like bracts. Each flower has highly elastic petals that flip backward, releasing bouncy filaments that are cocked below the petals.
Canadian Bunchberry Fruit
Canadian Bunchberry, fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in small clusters on top of the plants. It is edible with a mild flavour slightly like apples. The large seeds within are somewhat hard and crisp. It is eaten raw or cooked added to breakfast cereals or used for making jams, sauce, pies and puddings. The fruit is rich in pectin.
Canadian Bunchberry Propagation Methods
Plant propagation is by seed. It succeeds in any damp soil of good or moderate fertility. It is common and widespread plant, occurring across circumboreal forests. Canadian Bunchberry has an explosive pollination mechanism; Canadian Bunchberry launches its pollen in under one millisecond. It speeds up its launching at 2,400 times the force of gravity, or about 800 times what a cosmonaut might experience during takeoff. Cornus Canadensis is a member of the Cornaceae family the genus Cornus
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