C. alba 'Argenteo-marginata'
C. alba 'Sibirica'
C. sericea, also called C. stolonifera
C. sericea 'Flaviramea'
Despite its miniature size, the low-growing bunchberry, only 3 to 5 inches tall, is related to the flowering dogwood tree. It is a native of cool, wet northern woodlands from Alaska to Greenland; in the West it ranges to the mountains of northern California, in the East, to the mountains of West Virginia. The plant's dogwood-like flowers, less than an inch in diameter, appear in the early summer and are made up not of petals but of four white bracts surrounding a tiny true flower. In the fall, each bunchberry produces a cluster of bright red 1/4-inch berries at the end of the stem. Bunchberry spreads rapidly by means of creeping underground stems that travel through the forest leaf mold to form new colonies.
HOW TO GROW. Bunchberry thrives in Northeastern and Western Coniferous Woodland and Deciduous Woodland environments. It needs a cold boglike soil, preferably one rich in acid sphagnum moss with a pH of 4.0 to 5.0. Although it does best in shade, it will adapt to filtered light if the soil is kept cool and moist with a covering of old leaves or pine needles. Plant nursery-grown plants in spring or fall, in groups of two or three spaced about a foot apart. Bunchberry may also be grown from seeds separated from their pulp as soon as the berries are ripe and sown 1/4 inch deep in a mixture of three parts sand to one part sphagnum moss. Bunchberry seeds may take two or three years to germinate.