September 15, 2014

Introducing plants from the boreal forest of Quebec - Card # 1: Cornus canadensis (L.)

Laurie Caron - Plant card

Latin name: Cornus canadensis (L.)

Common Names: Dogwood Canada, Four-time Mullets, Dwarf cornel, Bunch-berry.

Cornus canadensis (L.) known as the four-time or Canadian dogwood is an herb that is found mostly in the undergrowth of the boreal forest of Quebec. An herb is a plant which by definition does not produce  cellulose or lignin in the stem and roots. These compounds are particularly wood fiber and impart rigidity and strength to the stems / branches / roots of trees and shrubs. The stems of herbaceous plants are more like grass, stems that are more flexible and malleable than those called Woody.

Cornus canadensis for his stem is woody at the base only contrary to common herbaceous plants. The other species of Cornus in Quebec (C. rugosa, C. obliqua, C. stolnifera and C. alternifolia ) are mostly trees and shrubs except C. suecica is a herbaceous as C. canadensis1.

Figure 1 : Cornus canadensis.
You can easily recognize the four-time by its small greenish-white flowers, often heavily ribbed oval and the number of four to six leaves and its red globular fruits1 (Figure 1). The literature mentions several times that the fruit is edible dogwood, but without elaborating more on the taste and culinary uses. As against, wherein the core is so hard as unsightly identified as a limitation to its use.

Very little literature addresses the accepted four-time biological activities. An article published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science states that the leaf extract of C. canadensis demonstrate antibacterial activity at low to moderate2. This activity has been measured by various methods (by diffusion (diffusion-plate Hole) by the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)) as well as several types of bacteria (Escherichia coli, Aeromonas caviae, Paenibacillus alvei, Micrococcus luteus, Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium and Bacillus cereus)2.


(1)  Marie-Victorin. Flore Laurentienne; 3e ed.; Gaëtan Morin éditor: Montréal, 2002.

(2) Haider M. Hassan, Zi-Hua Jiang, Christina Asmussen, Emma McDonald, W. Q. Antibacterial Activity of Northern Ontario Medicinal Plant Extracts. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 2014, 94, 417–424.

1 comment:

  1. I use the leaves of Cornus canadensis for headache. I pick the leaves immediately before the plant flowers. Many plants have more active ingredients at that time. It would be interesting to know the chemical composition of the leaves at that moment..........