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Cornus canadensis is one of two primary forage plants for mule deer and black-tailed deer throughout the growing season in Alaska. Other wildlife, like moose, also use this plant for food. In addition, birds and small mammals eat its fruit and buds, sometimes year-round. Its berries are used for jellies and pies, and are also eaten fresh. Additionally, the plant is used medicinally. In a field study, it was found to have properties that neutralize acid rain, possibly due to the calcium present in the trichomes of its leaves.