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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Cornus canadensis

Cornus canadensis
Cornus canadensis

Native to temperate coniferous forests of North America and eastern Asia, Canadian bunchberry is a commonly observed perennial member of the dogwood family. As common as it is, it still boasts a uncommon trait: it is believed to have one of the most rapid movements among all plants. The individual flowers (note: the four large white bracts surround a cluster of twenty or so individual flowers) can open in less than 0.4 milliseconds. As they open, the flowers expel pollen, initially accelerating the grains at a rate of 24000m/s2, or 2400 times the acceleration of gravity. For videos demonstrating the mechanism and further explanation, visit Tale of the Dogwood. One of the first few people to observe and subsequently publish the observations about this intriguing property was my uncle, who shares his experience in "The Explosive Pollination Mechanism in Cornus canadensis L.".

10 Comments

Sue in Bremerton WA commented:

Oh my gosh, this is wonderful information. I looked at the link to see the pollin popping out.. What a wonder Nature is. Thank you so much!

Howard commented:

Really interesting research that your Uncle did on the "pop flowers". What an amazing observation. Thank you for telling us about it. We grow it successfully in the garden (U.K) but, sadly don't see the berries.

siusi commented:

to sintonizada nesta planta, em q ela é bela, eu ja a desenhei, e soube q ela expulsa as sementes no tempo mais rapido q ha. amei ve-la!!

Margi Willowmoon commented:

That is so cool. Thanks for sharing it. Anomalous plants rock!

Beverley commented:

Cornus canadensis - Z2 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Cornus canadensis - Z2-7 - A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
Cornus, kor-nus; from L. cornus, a horn, from the hard nature of the wood. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith
canadensis kan-a-den-sis. Of Canada or NE North America. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

Douglas Justice commented:

Emerald lake is on the western flank of the Rocky Mountains in Yoho National Park, which is located in the southern part of British Columbia. If I'm not mistaken, this is the range of Cornus unalaschkensis (western bunchberry), and not C. canadensis (Canada bunchberry). The plant pictured in flower is clearly Canada bunchberry, as the petals of its tiny flowers are greenish white. Those of western bunchberry are more purplish; however the berries (drupes) are indistinguishable, as far as I know, so the image doesn't give us a clue to its real identity. Western bunchberry is an allotetraploid; i.e., a natural hybrid of C. suecica (northern bunchberry) and C. canadensis, that has become fertile (and presumably a legitimate species) through a spontaneous doubling of its chromosomes. Most normal diploid hybrids that occur where the ranges of Canada and northern bunchberry overlap are sterile. This fascinating twist on the bunchberry story is neatly documented in the 1983 book Wildflower Genetics by Anthony Griffiths and Fred Ganders, two UBC botany professors.

elizabeth a airhart commented:


the entry is pretty
as usual the information and the links
are fine and i enjoy this page
and reading the comments

Alex Jablanczy commented:

What language is that Portugese Catalan Corsican
Galician as it doesnt fit Castilian Spanish? Or it's just badly misspelled. It must be a Romance.

I eat these buchberries and find them in the crop of partridge or ruffed grouse or spruce hen also.
They are quite flat tasting but without genetic modification all fruits probably tasted like this or like hawthorne similarly of modest flavour.

Margaret-Rae Davis commented:

The photograps are great. I have learned so much today. Thank you for the write up.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

BOB commented:

I LIKE IT

Comments are closed.

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