This is the little known dwarf dogwood, also commonly referred to as bunch berries. (Cornus canadensis)
The plus side to our local power company removing about 12 pine trees from the right away they have to our property is, exposing this small hillside dotted with bunch berries. They are a cute little flower that serves well as a interesting ground cover. I'm pleased they continue to grow and flourish every year as they prefer to be under coniferous trees, planted in a mossy damp area. Here you see another group blooming with tea berries that already have their berries. Yum! I remember the tea berry gum we craved as children and wish I could find it again. Its a little hard convincing Nikki these berries are edible, she doesn't like the idea of well water!
When I first moved to our property I discovered this flower right away and immediately thought.....if I coat the berries I could use them for my pine cone Christmas baskets as holly berries. Didn't work out that way, the paint automatically shrivels the berry to a raisin. Plan B. Red plastic berries.
The bunch berry or dwarf dogwood provides seasonal interest starting in early spring to late fall. It begins in May as a minty green, individual, five inch plant with 3 to 6 whorled leaves and can go unnoticed until it flowers.
In the start of June and lasting for a couple weeks the solitary white flower blooms, it is a four petaled flower that's about the size of a dime. At a quick glance the bunch berry could be mistaken for the wild strawberry, but upon closer inspection the leaves are smooth and not serrated. The bunch berries does not send out runners. The flowers are pollinated in the late spring by the wind caring the pollen from one flower to another neighboring flower.
Come late summer the vivid red berries appear. I thought this native plant got the name of "bunching" because it grows so close together but it is from the berry production. One flower can grow 5 to 6 berries, with the hardy leaf and stem holding them off the ground.
In the early fall the berries become crunchy and are a favorite food for the birds. The seeds are spread through the droppings of the birds, thus beginning another "bunch" and a whole other group. The final dramatic change the plant experiences is the deep shade of purple that appears in the late fall when the leaves change their color. I don't think bunch berries are easily transplanted, they seem to like where they land and apparently do quite well in full sun.
In the garden......looking for ANY red berry.