National Flower Contest - Canada

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by Master Gardeners of Ontario
August 22, 2017

To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Master Gardeners of Ontario sponsored a nation-wide contest that saw the Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis), known as quatre–temps in French and kawiscowimin in Cree, as the winner.

Since the beginning of the National Flower Contest, the little white flower has held the lead with an average of 80 per cent of the on-line vote, says Maureen Hulbert, Executive Director, Toronto Master Gardeners, who spearheaded the contest. Since it was announced in March, almost 10,000 Canadians took up the challenge to help select our national flower.

Bunchberry changes with the seasons with white flowers in late spring, summer red berries and great fall colour. One of the smallest members of the dogwood (Cornus) family, bunchberry forms a low, carpet-like mat of leaves, up to four inches tall, usually in the understory of moist and shady woods. In late spring, it produces showy flowers which appear a few inches above the mat of leaves. These white “flowers” are actually modified leaves called bracts, which attract pollinators to the tiny actual flowers in the centre. It is largely self-sterile, which means it is dependent on pollinators for sexual reproduction – bumblebees, solitary bees, bee flies and syrphid flies.

The Master Gardeners have submitted an online petition to Parliament to have the winner declared Canada’s official National Flower. To add your signature to the petition, click the link below.

For more information, contact Maureen at

~ Photo: Bunchberry by Todd Bolan

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