Search This Blog

Total Pageviews

Monday, June 19, 2017




 Monday, 8:30 AM.  60 degrees F at the ferry dock, 57 on the back porch.  Wind ESE, moderately breezy.  The sky is overcast with some clouds, the humidity 87%.  The barometer is steady at present, at 29.77".  The week head is predicted to be on the cool side with highs in the mid-60's, with mixed skies and weather.
  The highbush cranberry, Viburnum americanum (AKA trilobum) is not a cranberry at all, but a member of the Honeysuckle Family (Caprifoliaceae). The true cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, is a member of the Heath Family (Ericaceae), and is a resident of acid bogs in northern North America. 
The common name refers to the similarities in appearance of the shrub and it's berries to true cranberries, and the respective hight of the two shrubs,  The name cranberry of course refers to  the fact that cranes inhabit marshes and may eat the berries.
   To make nomenclature even more confusing, many authorities consider highbush cranberry a variety of the Eurasian species, and have named it Viburnum opulous var. americanum.  It is a visually ubiquitous species in the northern native landscape when in bloom, and once one recognizes it, one will see it everywhere, on woods edges, in the woods understory, roadsides, etc.  The clusters of red fruit also stand out, particularly in the winter landscape.
   Highbush cranberry is a large shrub native to much of southern Canada, New England and the Lake States.  The compound flowers are large, with an outer ring of showy white,  sterile ray flowers.  The misnamed "cranberry" fruits ripen deep cherry red in October and can remain on the shrub all winter, until the next spring's flowers appear.  The berries are edible but very astringent, thus the "cranberry" description.  Although too tart to eat out of hand, they are excellent in preserves.  They also provide  late winter food for birds. Cranberries and their juice are important in herbal and standard medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections, due to their high acidity.
   Highbush cranberry, also called American cranberry, is an excellent shrub for landscape use, particularly in the larger yard and for naturalizing.  It does not spread as aggressively as many shrubs, has excellent floral interest and fall leaf color, and abundant, highly decorative fruit that attracts birds in late winter.
   My reeorded blooming dates for highbush cranberry are: 6/12/15; 6/12/15; 6/29/14; 5/26/12.


No comments:

Post a Comment