Highbush cranberry is a bush with smooth grey to red bark and groups of small white flowers. The leaves are large with three points. Red, juicy berries grow in groups of two to five.
RANGE & HABITAT
This cranberry grows in moist forests and along the edges of streams and rivers, as well as rocky areas in middle to low elevations.
Clusters of white flowers develop into groups of drooping red berries, which have a large flattened seed.
The berries are important for over-wintering birds. They are one of the few berries that are available all winter.
TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES
The berries have a history as an important food source for people in the central and coastal regions. They were traditionally stored while still hard and green, in boxes with oil and water. Berries became softer and sweeter over time and these boxes were valuable gifts during feasts. The bark is used as medicine for lung colds and as an eye medicine.
Berries are eaten and can be used to make a tasty cranberry sauce.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Evergreen Native Plants Database
Photo: Anna Hesser