Large Cranberry

Large_Cranberry_jpgThis family of plants (Ericaceae), commonly known as the Heath Family includes 103 genera and 3,350 species of shrubs and small tress.  Many members of this family are of horticultural and gastronomic interest, including Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Heathers and Cranberries, Blueberries and Billberries. The Large Cranberry can be substituted for commercially available cranberries in any recipe.  They can be used as cooked fruit, jelly, for a cold drink or fermented for wine.  The berries are usually picked while still firm, just before, or just after the first frost. Native Americans dried Large Cranberry and sold them to the English, using them as currency.  The Colonists used them in baking. Native Americans also used a whole-plant infusion (medicine prepared by steeping in a liquid without boiling) to relieve mild nausea.

OtherCommonName:

American Cranberry, Bearberry, Bankberry

ScientificName:

Vaccinium macrocarpon

Community:

Freshwater Wetlands

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

Low creeping shrub

FruitingTime:

Late August to October

Distribution:

Newfoundland to North Carolina ~ Statewide in NJ

FloweringTime:

Late June to mid-July

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Low creeping shrub ~ Slender stem ~ Recurved pedals ~ Small, alternate, oval leaves ~ Fruit red and juicy