Arctocrania canadensis (L.) Nakai
Chamaepericlymenum canadense (L.) Asch. & Graebn.
Cornella canadensis (L.) Rydb.
Cornus cyananthus Raf.
Cornus fauriei H.Lév.
Cornus herbacea canadensis (L.) Pall.
Cornus suffruticosa Raf.
Cynoxylon canadense (L.) J.H.Schaffn.
Eukrania canadensis (L.) Merr.
Eukrania cyananthus (Raf.) Merr.
Mesomora canadensis (L.) Lunell
Common Name: Creeping Dogwood
Cornus canadensis is a low-growing perennial plant producing erect stems that are more or less woody and persistant at the base. Spreading by means of a rhizomatous rootstock to form a colony, it can grow 5 - 20cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it can make a very effective ground cover.
E. Asia - Russian Far East, northern China, Japan, Korea; N. America - Alaska to Newfoundland, south to Washington and Virginia, also in New Mexico
Always in large groups or thickets in moist, mossy, occasionally dry broadleaf or coniferous forests, roadbanks, marshes, bogs, usually in peaty soils; at elevations up to 3,400 metres[
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Cornus canadensis is a very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to around -40°c when dormant. Growing within the Arctic circle in the north of its range, it is also found at higher elevations as far south as Virginia in N. America.
Succeeds in any soil of good or moderate fertility[
]. Easily grown in a peaty soil in shade or partial shade[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Grows best in sandy soils[
]. Prefers a damp soil[
]. Not suitable for alkaline soils[
A very ornamental plant[
], it grows well with heathers[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Pleasant but without much flavour[
]. The fruits are rather dry a bit gummy and rather mealy but they have a pleasant slightly sweet flavour, though they are not the type of fruit I would like to eat raw in quantity[
]. They can be added to breakfast cereals or used for making jams, pies, puddings etc[
]. An excellent ingredient for steamed plum puddings[
]. High in pectin[
], so it can be used with pectin-low fruits when making jam[
]. Pectin is said to protect the body against radiation[
]. TThe red, globose fruit is around 6 - 9mm in diameter[
], and is borne in small clusters on top of the plants[
The leaves and stems are analgesic, cathartic and febrifuge[
]. A tea has been used in the treatment of aches and pains, kidney and lung ailments, coughs, fevers etc[
]. A strong decoction has been used as an eye wash[
The fruits are rich in pectin which is a capillary tonic, antioedemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and hypotensive[
]. Pectin also inhibits carcinogenesis and protects against radiation[
A tea made from the roots has been used to treat infant colic[
The mashed roots have been strained through a clean cloth and the liquid used as an eyewash for sore eyes and to remove foreign objects from the eyes[
A good dense ground cover plant, growing well in light woodland[
]. It takes a little while to settle down and needs weeding for the first few years[
] but becomes rampant when established and can then spread 60 - 90cm per year[
The fruit is rich in pectin[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed[
]. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors[
]. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 - 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year[
]. Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification[
]. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more[
]. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring. This plant can be a bit temperamental when it is being divided. We have found it best to tease out small divisions from the sides of the clump, to avoid the need to disturb the main clump by digging it up. Try to ensure that each division has already produced some roots. Pot them up in light shade in a greenhouse and make sure that they are not allowed to become dry. Once they are rooting and growing away well, which might take 12 months, they can be planted out into their permanent positions.