The cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccus, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccus. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. The name cranberry derives from their being a favourite food of cranes. Some sources claim the name comes from "'craneberry' because before the flower expands, its stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane" (e.g., American Phytopathological Society; Nantucket Conservation Foundation). They are low, creeping shrubs to 10 cm tall (often less), with slender, wiry stems, not thickly woody, and small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. The fruit is a small pink berry.














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There are three species of cranberry: Vaccinium oxycoccus or Oxycoccus palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry) is widespread throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5-10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour. Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccus microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless.
Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccus macrocarpus (American Cranberry) native to the northeastern part of the North American continent (eastern Canada, and eastern United States south to North Carolina). It differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being larger, 10-20 mm long.

Above Images Are From The U.S.D.A.



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