Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Cranberry fruitThe cranberry plant is a low, creeping shrub growing up to 7 feet long and 2-8 inches high.  This plant has slender, wiry stems that are not thickly wooded and have small, tiny evergreen leaves arranged alternately. Its stem creeps along the ground. Its flowers are dark pink with distinct petals and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward.  Some species of Cranberry (there are 3 or 4 different species) have dark pink flowers with a purple central spike on fine, hairy stems.

Cranberry stem and leavesIts fruits are red berries that are larger than the leaves of the plant.  The fruit is initially white but turns a deep red when fully ripe.

Where to Find: It only grows in open, sunny, wet areas in the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

Edible Parts: The berries are very tart when eaten raw and hence, are usually used as a juice drink or sauce. Cook in a small amount of water and add sugar, if available, to make a jelly.

Other Uses: Cranberries may act as a diuretic. They are useful for treating urinary tract infections.

Cranberry plants creeping low to the ground

Cranberry plant flowers

Cranberry groundcover

Dried Cranberry stems and leaves

Color diagram of Cranberry plant showing its components

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