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Oxycoccus macrocarpus (Ait.) Pursh

American Cranberry

Modern name

Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton


Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.

A creeping evergreen shrub of prostrate habit, with long, thin, wiry stems. Leaves oval or oblong, 13 to 23 in. long, 18 to 13 in. wide, rounded at both ends, entire, very short-stalked, pale or bluish white beneath, usually recurved at the margins. Flowers produced during the summer in a raceme about 1 in. long, beyond which the leaf-bearing shoot continues to grow; each flower is borne on a curving, slightly downy stalk, but is itself drooping. Petals pink, 13 in. long, rolled back so as fully to reveal the eight stamens, which stand up in a close cluster. Calyx with shallow, triangular lobes. Berry red, acid, 12 to 34 in. diameter, globose. Bot. Mag., t. 2586.

Native of eastern N. America from Newfoundland to N. Carolina, generally inhabiting boggy ground. It has much the same general appearance as our native cranberry, but differs in its larger, rounder-tipped leaves and larger berries, in having a leafy shoot above the raceme, and in the stalk of the stamens being shorter in comparison with the anthers. This shrub is now being largely cultivated in the United States for its fruit. Hundreds of acres have been specially adapted for it by means of a water-supply which admits of the land being flooded at will. On well-prepared ground a crop of 500 bushels per acre has been gathered in a single season.



Other species in the genus