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Latin Name: Cornus Canadensis (Also Known As)

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Dogwood Family


Latin Name: Cornus Canadensis

(Also Known As): Chamaepericlymenum canadense (J.Hill.)
Common Names: Puddingberry, Dwarf Cornel, Creeping Dogwood, Dwarf Dogwood, Pigeonberry
Native American Names: Makah: bûbûwak!tibupt, “berries with pebbles in them”; Quinault: olka´stap, snakeberry (2)
Related species: C. nuttalii, Pacific Flowering Dogwood; C. stolonifera, Red-Osier Dogwood

Body System Affiliations: Respiratory System, Digestive System, Nervous System

Botanical Description: (1:292)

Habit: Perennial herb.

Size: 6-9 inches high.

Branching: Whorled.

Leaves: Roundish, oval, deep green, turning yellow in fall.

Flowers: Clusters of tiny flowers surrounded by four showy bracts that look like ptetals.

Fruit: Clusters of small, red, shiny berries.

Underground Parts: Creeping rootstalks send up stems.


Habitat: Under trees near lakes, streams.

Range: Northern California to Alaska.
Native Where: Northern California to Alaska. (1:292)
Places/Dates Observed/Description: May 2003 on the floor of temperate rainforest in Quinault, WA. June 2003 in native plants garden at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA.

Indigenous and Non-Western Use/Relationships/Significance:

Food: The Makah have eaten the berries fresh. (2:43)
Other: The Quinault have claimed the berries are poisonous. (2:43)

Western (European-American) Uses/Relationships:

Food: Fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. High in pectin, can be added to jams.


Part Used: Whole plant

Medicinal Actions: Analgesic, Cathartic, Febrifuge, Kidney, Ophthalmic (plants for a future)

Indications: Fever, inflammation, pain, headaches, colitis, dysentery, diarrhea, chronic gastritis, abdominal gas cramps, mild colitis. (4:960)

Body System Associations: Digestive, Respiratory, Nervous

Constituents: Cornine, cornic acid, quercetin, phenylethylamine, tannins, flavenoids. (4:96)

Harvest: Dry whole plant

Storage: Dried plant good for one year.

Preparation: Standard infusion of 3-4 grams for a cup.

Applications: Drink tea up to four times daily.

Cautions: May have allergic reaction in people who respond negatively to salicylates.

Personal Experience: An unusually cheery plant which always seems to say hi to me when I pass. When not in flower can be easily distinguished by the leaves; the way they are arranged and the way the leaf veins curve toward the tip. Super fun to draw.


Plant Part: Whole Plant (4:96)

Season of Harvest: Summer to early fall.

Method of Harvest: Dry by hanging, lying flat, or in a paper bag.


Technique: Sow seed as soon as it is ripe. Separate from fruit which has germination inhibitors. (4)

Timing: Germination may be slow. Divide in spring.

Present in “Gifts of the First People” Project: Yes, with the Respiratory System plants.

Taken at Pt. Defiance Native Plant Garden, Spring 2003. Seen with Adiantum pedatum, Fragaria vesca, Oxalis oregana, and other friends.

References Cited:
1. Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, et al. Western Garden Book. Menlo Park, California: Sunset Publishing Corporation, 2001.
2. Gunther, Erna. Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1973.
3. Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1973.
4. Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Red Crane Books, Inc., Santa Fe, NM: 1993.
5. Morris, Rick. Plants for a Future Database. [Site visited 07-22-03]
Erin Degenstein

Plants as Food and Medicine

Summer 2003

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