Stem. - Five to seven inches high. - Leaves. - Ovate, pointed, the upper crowded into an apparent whorl of four to six. Flowers. - Greenish, small, in a cluster which is surrounded by a large and showy four-leaved, petal-like, white or pinkish involucre. Calyx. - Minutely four-toothed. Corolla. - Of four spreading petals. Stamens. - Four. Pistil. - One. Fruit. - Bright red, berry-like.
When one's eye first falls upon the pretty flowers of the bunch-berry in the June woods, the impression is received that each low stem bears upon its summit a single large white blossom. A more searching look discovers that what appeared like rounded petals are really the showy white leaves of the involucre which surround the small, closely clustered, greenish flowers.
The bright red berries which appear in late summer make brilliant patches in the woods and swamps. Both in flower and fruit this is one of the prettiest of our smaller plants. It is closely allied to the well-known flowering-dogwood, which is so ornamental a tree in early spring.
In the Scotch Highlands it is called the "plant of gluttony," on account of its supposed power of increasing the appetite. It is said to form part of the winter food of the Esquimaux.
Plate XIV. Fruit. Bunch-Berry. - C. Canadensis