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Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon

Previously known as:

  • Oxycoccus macrocarpus
Phonetic Spelling
vak-SIN-ee-um ma-kro-KAR-pum
Description

Large Cranberry is native low-growing vine, ground cover or trailing evergreen shrub and is usually grown in wet bog conditions. They spread by rhizomes and can be difficult to transplant. Requirements are full sun and moist but well-drained soils and they can tolerate periodic flooding. Soil pH needs to be 4.0-5.2. The plants are grown commercially as a food crop and the berries mature in August-November. This plant is intolerant of heat and drought.

Ornamentally it can be used as a ground cover for boggy or marshy areas with acidic soils.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Cranberries are subject to chlorosis problems if soil pH is too high.

More information on Vaccinium.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pilgrim'
    Larger fruit, ripens later
  • 'Thunderlake'
    Taller, less spreading, can be grown similar to blueberries
'Pilgrim', 'Thunderlake'
Tags:
#bees#sun#showy flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native bees#boggy#playground#showy fruits#wet sites#small mammals#specialized bees#food source#dense#glossy leaves#red fruits#native garden#edible fruits#leathery#native groundcover#pollinator plant#edible garden#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pilgrim'
    Larger fruit, ripens later
  • 'Thunderlake'
    Taller, less spreading, can be grown similar to blueberries
'Pilgrim', 'Thunderlake'
Tags:
#bees#sun#showy flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#native bees#boggy#playground#showy fruits#wet sites#small mammals#specialized bees#food source#dense#glossy leaves#red fruits#native garden#edible fruits#leathery#native groundcover#pollinator plant#edible garden#food source fall#Coastal OBL#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    macrocarpon
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Was and continues to be a food source for Native Americans.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    NE North America
    Distribution:
    USA: CA, CT, DE, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV Canada: NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, QC
    Wildlife Value:
    Berries are eaten by birds and small mammals and it also attracts pollinators. Members of the genus Vaccinium support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Conandrena) bradleyi, Andrena (Andrena) carolina, Panurginus atramontensis, Habropoda laboriosa, Colletes productus, Colletes validus, and Osmia (Melanosmia) virga.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Edible berries
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 4 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/2 inch round red fruit in late summer to mid-fall (August-November).
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Showy small fuchsia pink flower stalks develop from stem tips Each bloom has four thin white petals that are acutely reflexed, exposing a dark, elongated central cone of 8-10 fused stamens. They bloom from May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Small glossy leaves are bronze in spring and green in summer. Undersides are whitish. Fall color varies from copper to purple.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Bark Description:
    The bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Wet Soil