The quest to name bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) the national flower of Canada has been turned down by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The National Flower Petition from the Master Gardeners of Ontario was presented to Parliament Dec. 4, 2017.
Almost a year ago, a nationwide poll was launched to choose a national flower. On Canada Day, bunchberry was declared the winner and a petition was sent to Parliament to have the plant declared Canada’s official national flower.
“Although Canada does not have a national floral symbol, the maple tree was officially recognized as Canada’ arboreal emblem in 1996,” the heritage department writes. “Additionally, the maple leaf has been associated with Canada since the 1700s and is widely used as a symbol for the country. Thank you for taking the time to share your views and interest in the national symbols of Canada.”
Almost 10,000 people voted in the poll that ran from March to Canada Day. Bunchberry was the overwhelming winner with 80% of the votes. Other native plants in the running included hooded lady’s tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) and twinflower (Linnaea borealis).
“While we thought we had spent a great deal of time and energy deciding on a national symbol that was, in fact, representative of all of Canada, the government appears to disagree,” says Maureen Hulbert, who spearheaded the contest. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to spread the word, vote online, write emails to Parliament and otherwise raise the profile of Master Gardeners, and gardening in general, across Canada this past year.”