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alaskan bunchberry, western bunchberry, western cordilleran bunchberry

creek dogwood, western red osier

Habit Shrubs, to 3 m, flowering at 1 m; rhizomes absent.

erect, green, 6–22 cm, appressed-hairy;

nodes 4–6, internodes progressively longer distally;

branches only at distalmost node, much shorter than distal internodes so stems appear unbranched.


bark green to maroon or reddish brown, not corky, loosely verrucose;

branchlets red, reddish brown, maroon, or green, mostly erect-hairy when young;

lenticels protruding on 2d year branches, area surrounding them not suffused with purple on older branches;

pith white.


at proximal 2–4 nodes nonchlorophyllous, opposite, ± scalelike, caducous (rarely chlorophyllous at 3d node from apex but much smaller than more distal leaves), at 2d node from apex nonchlorophyllous proximally, chlorophyllous distally, opposite, well developed, persistent, at distalmost node chlorophyllous, appearing to be in whorl of 6, well developed, persistent;

distalmost leaves much bigger than those at 2 more proximal nodes;

petiole 0–3.4 mm;

blade ovate to elliptic, 3.5–8 × 0.9–4 cm, apex acute or short acuminate, abaxial surface pale green, hairs sparsely appressed-hairy, adaxial surface green, appressed-hairy;

secondary veins 3 per side, all arising from proximal 1/2.

petiole 10–20 mm;

blade ovate, 5–12 × 2–6 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex slightly acuminate, abaxial surface white, hairs erect, especially dense near midvein, tufts of erect hairs present in axils of secondary veins, vein hairs brown, appressed, adaxial surface green, hairs appressed;

secondary veins 6–7 per side, most arising from proximal 1/2, tertiary veins not prominent.



peduncle 13–30 mm;

primary branches 0–2 mm;

bracts greenish white or white, often red-tipped, unequal, 2 ovate, 21–30 × 12–13 mm, 2 suborbiculate, 17–1.9 × 13–16 mm, apex acuminate.

flat-topped, 3–6 cm diam., peduncle 20–40 mm;

branches and pedicels maroon.


0.4–1.6 mm, sparsely appressed-hairy or glabrous.


hypanthium cream to mottled purple, 1.2–2 mm, densely appressed-hairy;

sepals mottled purple and cream, 0.1–0.4 mm, apex rounded or acute, thick, sparsely hairy on margin, densely glandular;

petals cream proximally, purple distally, 1.5–1.8 mm, apical awn 0.4–0.6 mm;

nectary dark purple or black.

hypanthium densely erect-hairy;

sepals 0.3–0.7 mm;

petals white, 3.5–4 mm.


10–20 per inflorescence, red, globose, 6–8 mm;

stone globose or subglobose, 2.7–3.4 × 2.1–3.4 mm, longitudinally grooved, apex slightly pointed.

white, globose, 8 mm diam.;

stone oblate-ellipsoid, 4–5 × 5–7 mm, with 3 ridges on each face, furrowed laterally, apex pointed.


= 44.

Cornus unalaschkensis

Cornus occidentalis

Phenology Flowering May–Aug; fruiting Aug–Oct. Flowering May–Jun and Sep–Oct; fruiting Aug–Oct.
Habitat Maritime copse or heath, maritime coniferous forests and bog woodlands, moist broadleaf or coniferous forests. Wet meadows, bogs, marshes, stream banks, lake shores, river banks.
Elevation 0–3000 m. (0–9800 ft.) 0–2000 m. (0–6600 ft.)
from FNA
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from FNA

F. R. Fosberg (1942) and H. W. Rickett (1944b) examined variation within the Cornus sericea complex in North America. Fosberg regarded the whole complex as a single species, stating that the differences in indumentum were not sufficient to distinguish two taxa. In contrast, Rickett concluded that there were two species, C. occidentalis and C. sericea, and that treatment is followed here.

The illegitimate name Cornus pubescens Nuttall has sometimes been used for this species.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 12, p. 448. FNA vol. 12, p. 454.
Parent taxa Cornaceae > Cornus > subg. Arctocrania Cornaceae > Cornus > subg. Thelycrania
Sibling taxa
C. alternifolia, C. amomum, C. asperifolia, C. canadensis, C. drummondii, C. florida, C. foemina, C. glabrata, C. kousa, C. mas, C. nuttallii, C. obliqua, C. occidentalis, C. racemosa, C. rugosa, C. sanguinea, C. sericea, C. sessilis, C. suecica
C. alternifolia, C. amomum, C. asperifolia, C. canadensis, C. drummondii, C. florida, C. foemina, C. glabrata, C. kousa, C. mas, C. nuttallii, C. obliqua, C. racemosa, C. rugosa, C. sanguinea, C. sericea, C. sessilis, C. suecica, C. unalaschkensis
Synonyms Arctocrania unalaschkensis, Chamaepericlymenum unalaschkense, Cornella unalaschkensis, Swida unalaschkensis C. sericea var. occidentalis, C. alba var. occidentalis, C. californica, C. californica var. pubescens, C. sericea subsp. occidentalis
Name authority Ledebour: Fl. Ross. 2: 378. (1844) (Torrey & A. Gray) Coville: Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 4: 117. (1893)
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