Most of the ground dogwood plants I recall having seen around Sitka have only four leaves in the whorl at the top of the stem. Many do not have such developed leaves along the lower stem either. However, as far as I can tell from my books, the traits seen here do occur in the species. However, there is a related species C. suecica that can occur in this area and may hybridize with C. canadensis. I will try to learn more about the differences and similarities between these two species and if they both occur around Sitka.
Location: Mt. Verstovia Trail, Sitka, Alaska