Cornaceae : Dogwood Family


Scientific Name:

Kingdom: Plantae

Class: Dicoteldonae (two seed-leaves)

Family: Cornaceae

Genera: 2

Species: 2

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)

Cornus stolonifera (Red-osier Dogwood)

English Name(s):

Dogwood Family

Family Traits


Natural History:

  • Some botanists recognize a 3rd species in Central Yukon called Cornus unalaskensis. It also goes by C.canadensis var. intermedia. This species or variety is of hybrid origin between a species found in Alaska called C.seucica and the regular C.canadensis. It has charactaristics of both species, has reduced or no fertility and reproduces vegitatively. It's range extends farthur east than that of C.seucida and is thought to be left over from an earlier climactic period. This variety is treated as a hybrid here and is discussed on the Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry) page.

Family Size:


Genera: 12

Species: 100

North America:

Genera: 1

Species: ?


Genera: 1

Species: 2

Illustrated Key To Family

Note: Move cursor over image for note on what to look for. Click on image to enlarge.

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)

Cornus stolonifera (Red-osier Dogwood)

Dicotomous Key To Family

  • A: Plant herbaceous; 8-15 cm tall; flowers surounded by 4 white to cream,petal-like bracts: Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)
  • A: Plant a woody shrub; 1-3 meters tall; Flowers with small white petals, not surounded by 4 petals-like bracts: Cornus stolonifera (Red-osier Dogwood)



  • Only genus in Cornaceae that is native to North America.
  • Species of this genus contain varying amounts of cornic acid adn the alkaloid cornine. These compounds have a mildly narcotic effect.
  • Flowers perfect (bisexual), 4-parted, in open cymes.
  • Fruit a 1-2 seeded drupe.

World: 45 species

North America: ?

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