Bunchberry Cornus canadensis
Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood)
Branching: Opposite/Whorled (semi-evergreen)

This very small shrub is not common in southern Ontario, though it is very widespread and abundant in more northerly climates (including farther south in the mountains).  It is so common, that I have surprisingly overlooked ever photographing it!  It is a small plant, just a couple inches high, usually a single stem and about four leaves radiating out of the top.  Though technically deciduous, it is semi-evergreen and discoloured or purplish leaves can often be seen in the winter, when not covered by snow.  It looks most similar to Wintergreen, though Wintergreen leaves retain more of their vibrant green colour all winter, there are more likely to be leaves of slightly different sizes on the same plant, the leaves are more leathery, and they lack the distinctly parallel veins characteristic to all dogwood leaves.

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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