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Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin


(Vaccinium oxycoccos L.)

Small cranberry

HEATH FAMILY (Ericaceae)


FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A very small, weak, creeping, evergreen, vine-like shrub. Leaves are alternate, ovate or nearly so, pointed, 2-10 mm. long, leathery, and have flat to strongly inrolled margins. Flowers are pink in color and 5-6 mm. long. Flowers are solitary on stalks, and are shaped like the flower of a shooting star with petals turned back, away from the stigmas and stamens. Fruit is a red berry 5-8 mm. in diameter. In flower from June to August. The similar large cranberry (V. macrocarpon) has wider leaves that are blunt at the apex.

ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Small cranberry is restricted to bogs. Cranberries are an important commercial crop in Wisconsin. Commercial varieties of cranberries were developed using cuttings taken directly from the native or "wild" strain of V. macrocarpon.

SOURCE: Fernald (1970); and Gleason and Cronquist (1991).

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