AppearanceDwarf cornel is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial growing to 20 cm tall, with few pairs of sessile cauline leaves in opposite pairs, 2–4 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, with 3-5 veins from the base. The flowers are small, dark purple, produced in a tight umbel that is surrounded by four conspicuous white petal-like bracts 1–1.5 cm long. The fruit is a red berry.
Habitat''Cornus suecica'' is a plant of heaths, moorland and mountains, often growing beneath taller species such as heather . Its range is nearly circumboreal, but it is absent from the continental centres of Asia and North America. In North America, the species is found in Alaska and British Columbia , and also eastern Canada , as well as Greenland, but not in the intervening region.
Where ''Cornus canadensis'', a forest species, and ''Cornus suecica'', a heath or bog species, grow near each other in their overlapping ranges in Alaska, Labrador, and Greenland, they can hybridize by cross-pollination, producing plants with intermediate characteristics.
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