Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     AK  CT  ME  MA  MN  NH  VT  WI  AB  BC
     LB  MB  NB  NF  NT  NS  ON  PE  PQ  SK
     YT

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Mountain cranberry is a circumpolar, circumboreal species that occurs
throughout parts of North America, Eurasia, and Japan [101,106].  The
New World subspecies (ssp. minus) extends from northwestern Greenland
across the Canadian Arctic southward to New England [114].  It grows
westward to the Great Lakes and British Columbia and reaches islands in
the Bering Sea [42,114].  In North America, mountain cranberry is
restricted to areas north of the glacial boundary [106].  The subspecies
vitis-idaea occurs throughout northern Europe from Scandinavia to
northern Italy and the Caucasus, across northern Siberia and Japan
southward into northern China and Korea [42].
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 101.  Trajkovski, Viktor. 1987. Facts about lingonberries (cowberries,        partridgeberries). Fruit Varieties Journal. 41(1): 39.  [9601]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]
  • 114.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]

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Heilongjiang, Jilin, Nei Mongol, Shanxi, Xinjiang [Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia; Europe, North America].
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Mountain cranberry is a low, creeping, evergreen subshrub that commonly
reaches 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) in height [4,90,114].  It typically
grows in dense rhizomatous colonies and frequently forms mats [106].
Stems are slender and trailing [38,114]; stem
morphology has been
examined in detail [76].  The root system is variable [6].  Plants have
a network of fine, shallow, fibrous roots, and may possess a taproot
[32,38].  The dichotomously branched rhizomes possess numerous hairlike
roots [98].  Maximum rooting depths of 2 to 11 inches (5-28 cm) have
been reported [42,100].

The thick, simple, leaves are obovate, oblong, or elliptic [38,90].  The
green leaves turn purplish in fall [38].

Flowers occur on terminal racemes singly or in groups of up to 15 [90].
Floral morphology has been examined in detail [79].  Fruit is a bright
to dark red, globular berry approximately 0.2 to 0.4 inch (6-10 mm) in
diameter [4,55,106,114].  The four-celled berries are acidic to sour or
bitter [6,90,106].  Yellow, short-beaked seeds average 0.04 inch (1 mm)
in length [42,106].
  • 4.  Anderson, J. P. 1959. Flora of Alaska and adjacent parts of Canada.        Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 543 p.  [9928]
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 6.  Biermann, John E. 1975. A description of Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Fruit        Varieties Journal. 29(1): 5-7.  [1901]
  • 32.  Fernqvist, I. 1977. Results of experiments with cowberries and        blueberries in Sweden. Acta Horticulturae. 61: 295-300.  [9609]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 55.  Keeler, Harriet L. 1969. Vacciniaceae--huckleberry family. In: Our        northern shrubs and how to identify them. New York: Dover Publications,        Inc.: 315-342.  [9272]
  • 76.  Odell, A. E.; Vander Kloet, S. P.; Newell, R. E. 1989. Stem anatomy of        Vaccinium section Cyanococcus and related taxa. Canadian Journal of        Botany. 67(8): 2328-2334.  [8944]
  • 79.  Palser, Barbara F. 1961. Studies of floral morphology in the Ericales.        V. Organography and vascular anatomy in several United States species of        the Vacciniaceae. Botanical Gazette. 123(2): 79-111.  [9032]
  • 90.  Robuck, O. Wayne. 1985. The common plants of the muskegs of southeast        Alaska. Miscellaneous Publication/July 1985. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 131 p.  [11556]
  • 98.  Smith, D. W. 1962. Ecological studies of Vaccinium species in Alberta.        Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 42: 82-90.  [7004]
  • 100.  Strong, W. L.; LaRoi, G. H. 1986. A strategy for concurrently monitoring        the plant water potentials of spatially separate forest ecosystems.        Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 16(2): 346-351.  [10805]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]
  • 114.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]

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Description

Shrubs dwarf, evergreen, 10–30 cm tall, erect or prostrate basally, rhizomatous. Twigs ?terete, pubescent; bud scales inconspicuous. Leaves dense; petiole ca. 1 mm, puberulous; leaf blade elliptic or obovate, 0.7–2 cm × 4–8 mm, leathery, abaxially with appressed glandular hairs, adaxially glabrous or puberulous on midvein, secondary veins 5 or 6 pairs, fine veins inconspicuous on both surfaces, base broadly cuneate, margin revolute, undulate-crenate, apex rounded, mucronulate, or retuse. Inflorescences terminal, racemose, 1–1.5 cm, puberulous, 2–8-flowered; bracts caducous, broadly ovate, ca. 3 mm. Pedicel ca. 1 mm, puberulous; bracteoles ± median. Flowers 4-merous. Hypanthium glabrous; calyx lobes broadly triangular, ca. 1 mm. Corolla white or pink, campanulate, ca. 5 mm; lobes erect, triangular-ovate, 2–2.5 mm. Filaments ca. 0.5 mm, puberulous; anthers ca. 1.5 mm, without spurs; tubules ca. as long as thecae. Berry 4-loculed, purplish red, 5–10 mm in diam., acidic or slightly bitter. Fl. Jun–Jul, fr. Aug–Sep. 2n = 24*.
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Size

15-30 cm

  • Wegweiser durch die Natur, Die Tiere und Pflanzen Mitteleuropas, Komet Verlag (Januar 2006), ISBN: 978-3898365512
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: heath, peat, taiga, tree, tussock

Mountain cranberry is widely distributed in northern temperate forests
and in many arctic and alpine communities [38,60,114].  It commonly
grows on exposed sites, such as windswept crags, bare headlands, rocky
ledges, scree, sea cliffs, hilly rocky barrens, and mountain summits
[21,38,81,88,91].  At the southern edge of its range, mountain cranberry
occurs primarily in bogs, but in the north it grows on both wet and dry
sites [38].  Mountain cranberry occurs on high moors, heath barrens,
sand dunes, and in peatlands, forest swamps, and bogs [38,41,114].  In
mature forests, plants often grow on top of decaying tree stumps [42].

Climate:  Mountain cranberry grows under a variety of climatic regimes.
In much of Canada, it occurs in areas characterized by short cool
summers and long cold winters [38].  In black spruce-white spruce-jack
pine forests of northern Canada, its distribution may be correlated with
arctic air masses.  However, in harsh rockfield and tussock communities
of the far North, it may be related to the influence of moist Pacific
air masses [38,60].  In taiga communities of Alaska, winters are long
and cold, but summers are short and hot [110].  Mean annual
precipitation is 8 inches (21 cm), and average annual temperature is 20
degrees F (-6.7 degrees C) [84].  In parts of the Northwest Territories,
annual precipitation averages 12 inches (30.4 cm) [68].

Soils:  Mountain cranberry grows on shallow, poorly developed mineral
soil as well as on drained peat [51,88].  Soils are often of low
fertility and have little calcium but may be high in decaying organics
[42,101].  Mountain cranberry commonly grows on acidic sandy loams or
loamy clays [42,57].  Holloway and others [45] reported poorest
vegetative growth on sandy soils.  Soil pH ranges from 2.7 to 8.2, but
best growth has been reported at 4.0 to 4.9 [38,42,49].  Soils are often
characterized by low base saturation and low lime content [45].  Soils
may be derived from a variety of parent materials, including sandstone,
gneiss, granite, and glacial outwash sands and gravel [38].

Elevation:  In New England, mountain cranberry is generally restricted
to higher mountains [55].  In the Northwest Territories, plants often
occur at lower elevations (to 4,950 feet [1,500 m]) [38].  Generalized
elevational ranges by geographic location are as follows:

Location         Elevation                          Authority

Adirondacks      up to 5,300 ft (1,615 m)           Keeler 1969
e Canada         sea level to 4,250 ft (0-1,290 m)  Hall and Shay 1981
AB               to 7,400 ft (2,250 m)              Hall and Shay 1981
Yukon            6,900 to 7,900 ft (2,100-2,400 m)  Hall and Shay 1981
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 21.  Dansereau, Pierre. 1959. The principal plant associations of the Saint        Lawrence Valley. No. 75. Montreal, Canada: Contrib. Inst. Bot. Univ.        Montreal. 147 p.  [8925]
  • 41.  Heinselman, M. L. 1970. Landscape evolution, peatland types and the        environment in the Lake Agassiz Peatlands Natural Area, Minnesota.        Ecological Monographs. 40(2): 235-261.  [8378]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 45.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Van Veldhuizen, Robert M.; Stushnoff, Cecil;        Wildung, David K. 1982. Vegetative growth and nutrient levels of        lingonberries grown in four Alaskan substrates. Canadian Journal of        Plant Science. 62(4): 969-977.  [9163]
  • 49.  Jeglum, John K. 1971. Plant indicators of pH and water level in        peatlands at Candle Lake, Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 49:        1661-1676.  [7450]
  • 55.  Keeler, Harriet L. 1969. Vacciniaceae--huckleberry family. In: Our        northern shrubs and how to identify them. New York: Dover Publications,        Inc.: 315-342.  [9272]
  • 57.  Kuchko, A.A. 1988. Bilberry and cowberry yields and the factors        controlling them in the forests of Karelia, U.S.S.R. Acta Bot. Fennica.        136: 23-25.  [8903]
  • 60.  Larsen, James A. 1971. Vegetational relationships with air mass        frequencies: boreal forest and tundra. Arctic. 24: 177-194.  [8258]
  • 68.  Maikawa, E.; Kershaw, K. A. 1976. Studies on lichen-dominated systems.        XIX. The postfire recovery sequence of black spruce-lichen woodland in        the Abitau Lake region, N.W.T. Canadian Journal of Botany. 54:        2679-2687.  [7225]
  • 84.  Racine, Charles H. 1981. Tundra fire effects on soils and three plant        communities along a hill-slope gradient in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.        Arctic. 34(1): 71-84.  [7233]
  • 88.  Ritchie, J. C. 1955. Biological flora of the British Isles: Vaccinium        vitus-idaea L. Journal of Ecology. 43: 701-708.  [9025]
  • 91.  Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS:        Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p.  [13158]
  • 101.  Trajkovski, Viktor. 1987. Facts about lingonberries (cowberries,        partridgeberries). Fruit Varieties Journal. 41(1): 39.  [9601]
  • 110.  Viereck, L. A. 1983. The effects of fire in black spruce ecosystems of        Alaska and northern Canada. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds.        The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. New York: John        Wiley and Sons Ltd.: 201-220.  [7078]
  • 114.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]
  • 51.  Kardell, Lars. 1986. Occurrence and berry production of Rubus chamaemorus L., Vaccinium oxycoccus L. & Vaccinium microcarpum Turcz. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea on Swedish peatlands. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research. 1(1): 125-140.  [3711]
  • 81.  Penney, B. G.; McRae, K. B.; Hall, I. V.; Morris, R. F.; Hendrickson,        P. A. 1985. Effect of harvest date and location on the yield of        Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd in eastern Newfoundland. Crop        Research. 25(1): 21-26.  [9603]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: association, bog, codominant, marsh, muskeg, shrub, tundra

Mountain cranberry grows as an understory dominant or codominant in a
variety of forest communities including many dominated by jack pine
(Pinus banksiana) and lodgepole pine (P. contorta).  It also occurs as a
dominant or indicator in dwarf shrub and shrub tundra communities.
Common codominants include dwarf birch (Betula nana), alpine bearberry
(Arctostaphylos alpina), Labrador tea (Ledum spp.), feather moss
(Pleurozium spp.), willow (Salix spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), lichen
(Cladina spp.), and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum). 

Mountain cranberry is listed as a dominant or indicator in the following
plant association, ecosystem association, habitat type, and community
type classifications:

Forest community types of west-central Alberta in relation to selected
  environmental factors [17]
Field guide to forest ecosystems of west-central Alberta [18]
Vegetation types in northwestern Alaska and comparisons with
  communities in other arctic regions [39]
       
Plant associates:  Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), Canada beadruby
(Maianthemum canadense), prickly rose (Rosa acicularis), paper birch (B.
papyrifera), sedge, mountain-laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), bearberry
(Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), crowberry, twinflower (Linnaea borealis),
willow, bog blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), fireweed (Epilobium
angustifolium), bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis), bog
Labrador tea, and feather moss commonly occur with mountain cranberry in
white and black spruce and jack pine communities [7,22,26,38,48,120].
Willows, bog Labrador tea, prickly rose, crowberry, bog blueberry,
sedges, cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum), and cloudberry are common
associates in treeless sphagnum bogs, cottongrass muskeg, and dwarf
shrub marsh communities [84,111,114,120].
  • 26.  Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Foote, M. J.; Zasada, J. C. 1988. The        effect on vegetation and soil temperature of logging flood-plain white        spruce. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-392. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 45 p.        [7471]
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 7.  Black, R. A.; Bliss, L. C. 1978. Recovery sequence of Picea mariana -        Vaccinium uliginosum forests after burning near Inuvik, Northwest        Territories, Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 2020-2030.  [7448]
  • 17.  Corns, I. G. W. 1983. Forest community types of west-central Alberta in        relation to selected environmental factors. Canadian Journal of Forest        Research. 13: 995-1010.  [691]
  • 18.  Corns, I. G. W.; Annas, R. M. 1986. Field guide to forest ecosystems of        west-central Alberta. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Forestry Service, Northern        Forestry Centre. 251 p.  [8998]
  • 22.  Daubenmire, Rexford. 1953. Notes on the vegetation of forested regions        of the far northern Rockies and Alaska. Northwest Science. 27: 125-138.        [10816]
  • 39.  Hanson, Herbert C. 1953. Vegetation types in northwestern Alaska and        comparisons with communities in other arctic regions. Ecology. 34(1):        111-140.  [9781]
  • 48.  Jameson, J. S. 1961. Observations on factors influencing jack pine        reproduction in Saskatchewan. Technical Note No. 97. Forest Research        Division, Department of Forestry, Canada. 24 p.  [7284]
  • 84.  Racine, Charles H. 1981. Tundra fire effects on soils and three plant        communities along a hill-slope gradient in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.        Arctic. 34(1): 71-84.  [7233]
  • 111.  Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1979. Ecological effects of the        Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-90.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 71 p.  [6392]
  • 114.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]
  • 120.  Zoltai, S. C.; Tarnocai, C. 1971. Properties of a wooded palsa in        northern Manitoba. Arctic and Alpine Research. 3(2): 115-129.  [9778]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

     1  Jack pine
     5  Balsam fir
    12  Black spruce
    13  Black spruce - tamarack
    16  Aspen
    17  Pin cherry
    18  Paper birch
    38  Tamarack
   107  White spruce
   201  White spruce
   202  White spruce - paper birch
   204  Black spruce
   218  Lodgepole pine
   251  White spruce - aspen
   253  Black spruce - white spruce
   254  Black spruce - paper birch

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K094  Conifer bog
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES44  Alpine

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Betula and Larix forest, meadows, alpine grasslands; 900–3200 m.
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Pineforests, swamps and dwarf-shrub heath up to 2500 m height

  • Wegweiser durch die Natur, Die Tiere und Pflanzen Mitteleuropas, Komet Verlag (Januar 2006), ISBN: 978-3898365512
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Associations

Foodplant / saprobe
embedded, then erumpent apothecium of Coccomyces leptideus is saprobic on dead leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Elasmucha ferrugata sucks sap of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / gall
fruitbody of Exobasidium juelianum causes gall of live, deformed shoot of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / gall
fruitbody of Exobasidium vaccinii causes gall of live, hypertrophied shoot tip of Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Other: sole host/prey
minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent stroma of Gibbera vaccinii is saprobic on dead leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / feeds on
apothecium of Lophodermium melaleucum feeds on twig of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / feeds on
amphigenous cleistothecium of Meliola ellisii feeds on leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / saprobe
long-stalked apothecium of Monilinia urnula is saprobic on dead, fallen, mummified fruit of Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Remarks: season: 5-6

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Naohidemyces vacciniorum parasitises leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / mycorrhiza / endomycorrhiza
mycelium of Oidiodendron maius is endomycorrhizal with live root of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / saprobe
amphigenous, immersed, erumpent, stromatic pycnidium of Ceuthospora coelomycetous anamorph of Phacidium vaccinii is saprobic on dry, dead, blackening twig of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / feeds on
immersed perithecium of Physalospora vitis-idaeae feeds on leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Remarks: season: 9

Foodplant / pathogen
Phytophthora inflata infects and damages Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / pathogen
Phytophthora kernoviae infects and damages Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / pathogen
Phytophthora ramorum infects and damages Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / parasite
Podosphaera myrtillina parasitises Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Pucciniastrum goeppertianum parasitises live Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, gregarious, often confluent pycnidium of Rhabdospora coelomycetous anamorph of Rhabdospora stemmatea causes spots on leaf of Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Foodplant / spot causer
epiphyllous, gregarious, minute pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria stemmatea sensu Sacc. causes spots on stem of Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Remarks: season: 9

Foodplant / parasite
Xenomeris alpina parasitises Vaccinium vitis-idaea
Remarks: Other: uncertain

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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, fire intensity, rhizome, severity, tussock

Mountain cranberry commonly sprouts from rhizomes or buds located on
surviving portions of aerial stems after fire damages or consumes
aboveground material [115,116].  Sprouting from stumps, or "rootstocks"
has also been reported [13,65].  Reestablishment through seed is
extremely rare [102].  Surviving portions of the aerial stems sprout
within a short time, but rhizome sprouting may be delayed until the
following year [115].

The speed of reestablishment varies according to the season of burn,
site characteristics, and fire intensity and severity.  Reestablishment
is generally rapid after light fires [27]; plants are often common on
lightly burned sites [102].  Regeneration may be slow after hot fires
that damage or destroy underground regenerative structures [27,102,111].
In northern spruce communities, intense, stand-destroying, late summer
fires which consume the organic layer [110] can be particularly damaging
to mountain cranberry [65].

On some sites, plants may sprout within months after a light burn and
regain prefire cover within a few years [102].  Mountain cranberry
generally appears within the first 6 years after fire in black
spruce-lichen, jack pine-lichen, and white spruce-birch communities
[38].  Residual survivors were observed at the end of the fifth growing
season in black spruce communities of southeastern Manitoba [16].  In a
severely burned black spruce community of interior Alaska, it became
abundant within 5 years after fire but set little fruit [117].  Viereck
[109] observed slow recovery after fire in a black spruce/feather moss-
lichen community of interior Alaska.  Recovery was as follows:

                        percent cover (1971 fire)
        unburned        1972       1975      1980
           18             1          1         7

Mountain cranberry was present within 1 to 5 years after fire in white
spruce communities of Alaska [34].  Mountain cranberry is a common early
colonizer in jack pine communities, although reestablishment generally
takes at least several years [13].  In North America, postfire recovery
may be more rapid in moister, eastern boreal forests [68].

Reestablishment of mountain cranberry is often slow in tundra
communities [85].  Plants attained prefire coverage by the end of two
full growing seasons in arctic tussock communities [116].  In
northwestern Alaska, production was still significantly lower on sites
burned 13 years earlier than on unburned sites [33].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 13.  Carroll, S. B.; Bliss, L. C. 1982. Jack pine - lichen woodland on sandy        soils in northern Saskatchewan and northeastern Alberta. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 60: 2270-2282.  [7283]
  • 16.  Chrosciewicz, Z. 1976. Burning for black spruce regeneration on a        lowland cutover site in southeastern Manitoba. Canadian Journal of        Forest Research. 6(2): 179-186.  [7280]
  • 27.  Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Van Cleve, K. 1986. Fire in taiga        communities of interior Alaska. In: Forest ecosystems in the Alaskan        taiga. New York: Springer-Verlag: 74-86.  [3881]
  • 33.  Fetcher, Ned; Beatty, Thomas F.; Mullinax, Ben; Winkler, Daniel S. 1984.        Changes in arctic tussock tundra thirteen years after fire. Ecology.        65(4): 1332-1333.  [7234]
  • 34.  Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant        communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap.        PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p.  [7080]
  • 65.  Lutz, H. J. 1953. The effects of forest fires on the vegetation of        interior Alaska. Juneau, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 36 p.        [7076]
  • 68.  Maikawa, E.; Kershaw, K. A. 1976. Studies on lichen-dominated systems.        XIX. The postfire recovery sequence of black spruce-lichen woodland in        the Abitau Lake region, N.W.T. Canadian Journal of Botany. 54:        2679-2687.  [7225]
  • 85.  Racine, Charles H.; Johnson, Lawrence A.; Viereck, Leslie A. 1987.        Patterns of vegetation recovery after tundra fires in northwestern        Alaska, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research. 19(4): 461-469.  [6114]
  • 109.  Viereck, Leslie A. 1982. Effects of fire and firelines on active layer        thickness and soil temperatures in interior Alaska. In: Proceedings, 4th        Canadian permafrost conference; 1981 March 2-6; Calgary, AB. The Roger        J.E. Brown Memorial Volume. Ottawa, ON: National Research Council of        Canada: 123-135.  [7303]
  • 110.  Viereck, L. A. 1983. The effects of fire in black spruce ecosystems of        Alaska and northern Canada. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds.        The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. New York: John        Wiley and Sons Ltd.: 201-220.  [7078]
  • 111.  Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1979. Ecological effects of the        Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-90.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 71 p.  [6392]
  • 115.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Schandelmeier, Linda A. 1980. Effects of fire in        Alaska and adjacent Canada--a literature review. BLM-Alaska Tech. Rep.        6. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land        Mangement, Alaska State Office. 124 p.  [7075]
  • 116.  Wein, Ross W.; Bliss, L. C. 1973. Changes in Arctic Eriophorum tussock        communities following fire. Ecology. 54(4): 845-852.  [9827]
  • 117.  West, Stephen D. 1982. Dynamics of colonization and abundance in central        Alaskan populations of the northern red-backed vole, Clethrionomys        rutilus. Journal of Mammalogy. 63(1): 128-143.  [7300]
  • 102.  Uggla, Evald. 1959. Ecological effects of fire on north Swedish forests.        Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiksells. 18 p.  [9911]

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Successional Status

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More info for the terms: bog, bryophytes, climax, cover, frequency, muskeg, shrub, shrubs, succession, tree, tundra, tussock

Mountain cranberry is noted for its wide ecological amplitude [69].  It
is not generally considered a pioneer species but does occur in early
seral stages in some communities [38,65].  Mountain cranberry persists
indefinitely, unless shaded out by conifers, and assumes a climax role
in various rockfield communities of the far North [38].

Mountain cranberry commonly invades tundra bog communities dominated by
species such as alpine sweetgrass (Hierochloe alpina), lichens
(Alectoria ochroleuca, A. nitidula), and woodrush (Luzula confusa) from
adjacent summit rockfields.  Mountain cranberry also invades senescent
cottongrass tussock communities and areas of frost activity after the
establishment of initial pioneers.  However, on some sites, seral mat
communities made up of mountain cranberry, crowberry, and lichens
eventually give rise to white spruce stands.  In barrens of
Newfoundland, mountain cranberry grows as a seral species which is
displaced by black spruce and balsam fir [38].  It also occurs in some
early seral communities dominated by paper birch [65].

Black spruce:  Mountain cranberry is important in stable climax black
spruce communities but also dominates many seral stages [34,65,80].
Stands are initially colonized by bryophytes and herbaceous species such
as fireweed and willow [7,27].  Mountain cranberry generally reaches
stable levels within 25 years after fire or other disturbances [38].
However, maximum cover and frequency were attained at 144 years in
certain black spruce/mountain cranberry communities [38].  In black
spruce stands in interior Alaska, mountain cranberry is present within 5
to 30 years after disturbance and persists for many years.  It is common
in stands 200 years old or older and represents the most abundant low
shrub in tree-dominated stages [34].  In black spruce stands of the
Northwest Territories, mountain cranberry remains abundant in 200- to
300-year-old stands despite the decline of most vascular plants [7].
Chapin and others [14] reported that mountain cranberry becomes more
prominent as succession progresses from immature black spruce to muskeg.

White spruce:  Mountain cranberry occurs in many climax white spruce
forests on uplands of interior Alaska [65].  It is present during the
moss-herb stage which occurs 1 to 5 years after fire [27,34].  Mountain
cranberry peaks and declines after the dense tree stage, which occurs
from 15 to 40-46 years or longer after fire, but remains present in
later stages [34].  Dyrness and others [27] reported that in interior
Alaska, mountain cranberry was common in 150-year-old white spruce
stands.

Jack pine:  In jack pine-lichen woodlands of the northern Canada,
mountain cranberry is an early colonizer on recently burned sites [13].
It persists after "the cessation of major successional changes" at 25 to
45 years [13] and remains common in stands up to 280 years of age [38].

Tundra communities:  In sedge-tussock tundra and shrub tundra
communities of Alaska's Seward Peninsula, bryophytes initially
reestablished burned sites.  Bryophytes often reach maximum cover within
2 to 4 years after fire, but the recovery of shrubs such as mountain
cranberry is often much slower.  In shrub-tundra communities, mountain
cranberry may not recover to prefire levels even by 5 to 6 years after
fire or other disturbance [84,85].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 7.  Black, R. A.; Bliss, L. C. 1978. Recovery sequence of Picea mariana -        Vaccinium uliginosum forests after burning near Inuvik, Northwest        Territories, Canada. Canadian Journal of Botany. 56: 2020-2030.  [7448]
  • 13.  Carroll, S. B.; Bliss, L. C. 1982. Jack pine - lichen woodland on sandy        soils in northern Saskatchewan and northeastern Alberta. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 60: 2270-2282.  [7283]
  • 27.  Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Van Cleve, K. 1986. Fire in taiga        communities of interior Alaska. In: Forest ecosystems in the Alaskan        taiga. New York: Springer-Verlag: 74-86.  [3881]
  • 34.  Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant        communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap.        PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p.  [7080]
  • 65.  Lutz, H. J. 1953. The effects of forest fires on the vegetation of        interior Alaska. Juneau, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 36 p.        [7076]
  • 69.  Maini, J. S. 1966. Pytoecological study of sylvotundra at Small Tree        Lake, N.W.T. Arctic. 19: 220-243.  [8259]
  • 80.  Parminter, John. 1983. Fire-ecological relationships for the        biogeoclimatic zones and subzones of the Fort Nelson Timber Supply Area:        summary report. In: Northern Fire Ecology Project: Fort Nelson Timber        Supply Area. Victoria, BC: Province of British Columbia, Ministry of        Forests. 53 p.  [9203]
  • 84.  Racine, Charles H. 1981. Tundra fire effects on soils and three plant        communities along a hill-slope gradient in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska.        Arctic. 34(1): 71-84.  [7233]
  • 85.  Racine, Charles H.; Johnson, Lawrence A.; Viereck, Leslie A. 1987.        Patterns of vegetation recovery after tundra fires in northwestern        Alaska, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research. 19(4): 461-469.  [6114]
  • 14.  Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Van Cleve, Keith. 1981. Plant nutrient        absorption and retention under differing FIRE REGIMES. In: Mooney, H.        A.; Bonnicksen, T. M.; Christensen, N. L.; [and others]

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fuel, shrub, tussock, wildfire

Postfire biomass:  Postfire reduction in mountain cranberry production
was as follows after a fire in an arctic tussock community [116]:

          mean annual production (g/m sq)
          burned            unburned
site 1      0.1               5.8
site 2      0.6               7.5
site 3      0.6               1.8
site 4      4.0               9.5

Biomass:  Biomass following a late June wildfire in interior Alaska was
measured at 0.04 grams per square meter during postfire year 1, 0.08
grams per square meter during postfire year 2, and 1.4 grams per square
meter during postfire year, compared to a control measurement of 5.1
grams per square meter [108].

Fuels and flammability:  Engelmark [30] reported that Vacciniums are
highly flammable due to specific chemical properties.  In northern
Sweden, species such as mountain cranberry can serve as ignition points
and as a continuous fuel mat for surface fires.  In many black spruce
stands of Alaska and northern Canada, an open, highly flammable,
ericaceous shrub layer can carry a fire [110].  However, Quintilio and
others [82] observed that an extensive mat of mountain cranberry and
alpine bearberry served as an effective fire barrier in a jack pine
stand near Darwin Lake, Alberta.  Fire seldom penetrated more than a few
centimeters into the vegetative mat.  The extensive ground mat
noticeably reduced the fire spread rate and coverage [82].
  • 30.  Engelmark, Ola. 1987. Fire history correlations to forest type and        topography in northern Sweden. Annales Botanici Fennici. 24(4): 317-324.        [6688]
  • 108.  Viereck, Leslie A. 1979. Characteristics of treeline plant communities        in Alaska. Holarctic Ecology. 2: 228-238.  [8251]
  • 110.  Viereck, L. A. 1983. The effects of fire in black spruce ecosystems of        Alaska and northern Canada. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds.        The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. New York: John        Wiley and Sons Ltd.: 201-220.  [7078]
  • 116.  Wein, Ross W.; Bliss, L. C. 1973. Changes in Arctic Eriophorum tussock        communities following fire. Ecology. 54(4): 845-852.  [9827]
  • 82.  Quintilio, D.; Fahnestock, G. R.; Dube, D. E. 1977. Fire behavior in        upland jack pine: the Darwin Lake project. Information Report NOR-x-174.        Edmonton, AB: Forestry Service, Fisheries and Environment Canada,        Northern Forest Research Centre. 49 p.  [7244]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

More info for the terms: fire severity, severity, tussock

Underground regenerative structures of mountain cranberry generally survive
light fires [102,115].  Plants often survive even when aerial portions are
consumed by fire [92].  However, plants may be killed by moderate to heavy,
duff-consuming fires [115].  Survival is related to many factors including
soil moisture levels, season of burn, fire severity and intensity, and rhizome
depth [38].

Rhizomes can sometimes survive soil surface temperatures of 820 degrees
F (438 degrees C) [102].  In arctic tussock communities, plants often
survive severe fires which remove all aboveground material [116].  The
heat-sensitive seeds of mountain cranberry are usually destroyed by fire
[115].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 92.  Rowe, J. S.; Scotter, G. W. 1973. Fire in the boreal forest. Quaternary        Research. 3: 444-464.  [72]
  • 115.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Schandelmeier, Linda A. 1980. Effects of fire in        Alaska and adjacent Canada--a literature review. BLM-Alaska Tech. Rep.        6. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land        Mangement, Alaska State Office. 124 p.  [7075]
  • 116.  Wein, Ross W.; Bliss, L. C. 1973. Changes in Arctic Eriophorum tussock        communities following fire. Ecology. 54(4): 845-852.  [9827]
  • 102.  Uggla, Evald. 1959. Ecological effects of fire on north Swedish forests.        Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiksells. 18 p.  [9911]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: rhizome, shrub

   Small shrub, adventitious-bud root crown
   Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
   Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

More info for the terms: cover, shrub, tundra

Mountain cranberry occurs in a variety of communities across a wide
climatic range.  It persists under a regime of relatively frequent fires
but also grows in areas that rarely burn.  Black spruce communities are
dependent on frequent fires, and most associated species, including
mountain cranberry, are well adapted to fire [110].  Fires in black
spruce communities of Alaska and northern Canada are commonly lightning
caused and tend to be large [68,110].  Fire frequencies average 80 to
200 years [96,110].  In moister black spruce/mountain cranberry
communities in eastern Canada, fires may occur at 500-year intervals
[35].  Mountain cranberry remains important in jack pine stands that
burn at 20- to 40-year intervals and in Swedish pine forests that burn
every 40 years [13,30].

Fire may be an important factor in treeline communities of the North.
In Siberia, past extensive fires may have destroyed forest communities.
Trees may have been unable to reestablish on these harsh sites under the
current climatic regimes.  Low-shrub-dominated tundra communities
composed of species such as mountain cranberry may have eventually
replaced these forest stands [108].  Fire intervals in shrub subzones of
forest-tundra communities have been estimated at 1,460 years [96].
Mountain cranberry continues to be abundant on these infrequently burned
sites.

In many forest communities, mountain cranberry requires fire for its
maintenance [30].  Increases in cover and vigor after fire are commonly
observed [9].  Mountain cranberry generally reestablishes a site through
sprouting from rhizomes and aerial stems.  Very limited reestablishment
may occur on exceptional sites in good years by seed transported from
off-site.
  • 9.  Bradshaw, Richard H. W.: Zackrisson, Olle. 1990. A two thousand year        history of a northern Swedish boreal forest stand. Journal of Vegetation        Science. 1(4): 519-528.  [12762]
  • 13.  Carroll, S. B.; Bliss, L. C. 1982. Jack pine - lichen woodland on sandy        soils in northern Saskatchewan and northeastern Alberta. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 60: 2270-2282.  [7283]
  • 30.  Engelmark, Ola. 1987. Fire history correlations to forest type and        topography in northern Sweden. Annales Botanici Fennici. 24(4): 317-324.        [6688]
  • 35.  Foster, David R. 1985. Vegetation development following fire in Picea        mariana (black spruce) - Pleurozium forests of south-eastern Labrador,        Canada. Journal of Ecology. 73: 517-534.  [7222]
  • 68.  Maikawa, E.; Kershaw, K. A. 1976. Studies on lichen-dominated systems.        XIX. The postfire recovery sequence of black spruce-lichen woodland in        the Abitau Lake region, N.W.T. Canadian Journal of Botany. 54:        2679-2687.  [7225]
  • 96.  Sirois, Luc; Payette, Serge. 1989. Postfire black spruce establishment        in subarctic and boreal Quebec. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research.        19: 1571-1580.  [10110]
  • 108.  Viereck, Leslie A. 1979. Characteristics of treeline plant communities        in Alaska. Holarctic Ecology. 2: 228-238.  [8251]
  • 110.  Viereck, L. A. 1983. The effects of fire in black spruce ecosystems of        Alaska and northern Canada. In: Wein, Ross W.; MacLean, David A., eds.        The role of fire in northern circumpolar ecosystems. New York: John        Wiley and Sons Ltd.: 201-220.  [7078]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: bog, fresh, rhizome, tree

Mountain cranberry reproduces through seed and by vegetative means [38].

Seed:  In many areas, seedlings first bear fruit at 3 or 4 years of age
[32,63].  However, British studies suggest that few flowers are produced
until plants reach 5 to 10 years of age [88].  Flowers are pollinated by
bumblebees and bee flies (syrphid flies) [38,42].  Plants may be self-
or cross-pollinated, but fruit set is much greater after
cross-pollination [6].  Berries are often produced in abundance.  In
parts of North America, berries average 3 to 15 seeds per berry [43].
Seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals [38].

Germination:  Seed can germinate on bare ground, but only if conditions
are favorable [38].  Fresh seed generally exhibits best germination
[37,38].  Germination declined from an average of 76.5 percent for seed
extracted from fresh fruit and then planted immediately to less than 10
percent for seed stored 12 to 16 months before planting [38].  In
laboratory tests, good germination was reported after stratification at
32 to 41 degrees F (0-5 degrees C) for up to 5 months [42,61].  Seeds
typically germinate within 3 weeks after exposure to temperatures of -7
to -4 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) in light or dark [32,42].  Germination
characteristics of mountain cranberry have been examined in detail
[19,62,63].

Seedling establishment:  Seedlings are rarely observed in the field
[42,62,75,102].  In Estonia, seedlings are generally observed only in
protected areas such as near tree stumps, fallen logs, or stones [71].
Some seedlings do develop in favorable years in parts of Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland [38].

Seed banking:  Seed of mountain cranberry has been detected in soil
samples [75,106], but seed banking potentials for this species are
unknown.  In black spruce (Picea mariana)-jack pine forests of the
Northwest Territories, seeds of mountain cranberry and bog blueberry
were found in 71 percent of the soil samples tested [50].  Studies near
the Great Slave Lake revealed mountain cranberry and bog blueberry seed
in 65 percent of the cores sampled.  Seed densities averaged 3.3 per
1,000 cc, but only 21 percent were viable.  A second study revealed 4.8
seeds per 1,000 cc, but none of the seeds were viable [38].

Vegetative regeneration:  Vegetative regeneration is of primary
importance in the mountain cranberry [88].  Plants commonly expand
through horizontal rhizomes [88].  Rhizomes may sprout singly or in
groups of 1 or 2 per square meter [42].  Large, older clones may be
separated into numerous daughter clones by disturbances such as frost,
fire, or burrowing mammals [38,88].  Rhizome length, depth, and the
location of shoots on the rhizomes are greatly influenced by soil and
other site characteristics [98].  Rhizome depth is inversely related to
the thickness of soil organic layers [98].  Rhizomes grow well in peat
but can also penetrate to mineral soil.  In Britain, rhizomes are
generally confined to the humus layer [38] and are estimated to average
4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm) deep [88].  Smith [98] reported that rhizome
depth in Alberta varied from 8 to 11 inches (19-28 cm).  He found that
22.1 percent of the shoots were located terminally and 77.9 percent
arose at midrhizome locations.  Rhizome characteristics as related to
various site characteristics have been examined in detail.

The trailing or creeping stems of mountain cranberry also root at the
nodes [38,114].  This mode of regeneration may be important on some
harsh, subarctic sites [38].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 6.  Biermann, John E. 1975. A description of Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Fruit        Varieties Journal. 29(1): 5-7.  [1901]
  • 19.  Crossley, John A. 1974. Vaccinium L.   Blueberry. In: Schopmeyer, C. S.,        ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agric. Handb. 450.        Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 840-843.        [7774]
  • 32.  Fernqvist, I. 1977. Results of experiments with cowberries and        blueberries in Sweden. Acta Horticulturae. 61: 295-300.  [9609]
  • 37.  Hall, Ivan V.; Beil, Charles E. 1970. Seed germination, pollination, and        growth of Vaccinium vitis-idaea var. minus Lodd. Canadian Journal of        Plant Science. 50(6): 731-732.  [9174]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 43.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Stushnoff, Cecil; Wildung, David K. 1982.        Gibberellic acid-induced fruiting of lingonberries, Vaccinium        vitis-idaea L. ssp. minus (Lodd.) Hult. HortScience. 17(6): 953-954.        [9192]
  • 50.  Johnson, E. A. 1975. Buried seed populations in the subarctic forest        east of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories. Canadian Journal of        Botany. 53: 2933-2941.  [6466]
  • 61.  Lehmushovi, Aaro. 1975. Methods of propagating the cowberry. Annales        Agriculturae Fenniae. 14(4): 325-333.  [9776]
  • 62.  Lehmushovi, A. 1977. Trials with the cowberry in Finland. Acta        Horticulturae. 61: 301-308.  [9680]
  • 63.  Lehmushovi, Aaro; Sako, Jaakko. 1975. Domestication of the cowberry        (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) in Finland. Annales Agriculturae Fenniae. 14:        227-230.  [9520]
  • 71.  Manni, R. 1988. Biology and berry production of the cowberry in Estonian        SSR. Acta Bot. Fennica. 136: 33-36.  [8904]
  • 75.  Morin, Hubert; Payette, Serge. 1988. Buried seed populations in the        montane, subalpine, and alpine belts of Mont Jacques-Cartier, Quebec.        Canadian Journal of Botany. 66: 101-107.  [6376]
  • 88.  Ritchie, J. C. 1955. Biological flora of the British Isles: Vaccinium        vitus-idaea L. Journal of Ecology. 43: 701-708.  [9025]
  • 98.  Smith, D. W. 1962. Ecological studies of Vaccinium species in Alberta.        Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 42: 82-90.  [7004]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]
  • 114.  Viereck, Leslie A.; Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1972. Alaska trees and        shrubs. Agric. Handb. 410. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 265 p.  [6884]
  • 102.  Uggla, Evald. 1959. Ecological effects of fire on north Swedish forests.        Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist and Wiksells. 18 p.  [9911]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: chamaephyte, geophyte

   Chamaephyte
   Geophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

In Alaska, vegetative buds began growth during the first week of June
and underwent rapid elongation throughout June.  The growth rate of
terminal vegetative buds decreased by July 1.  Leaf expansion began
during the last week of May and the first week of June; all leaves had
expanded within 1 month [42].  Karlsson [52] observed that old leaves
became photosynthetically active approximately 2 weeks after bud break.
Near Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, and in parts of Nova Scotia,
vegetative growth began in late June [38,42].  In Britain and perhaps
elsewhere, leaf expansion can begin as early as March, although it
usually occurs from mid-May to mid-June.  Shoot growth generally ends in
mid-July.  Leaves may persist for up to 3 years.  However, some old
leaves may be shed by August of the second year [38].  Plants become
dormant by fall [42].

Flowers develop from buds initiated the previous year [101].  In
interior Alaska, reproductive bud growth begins in mid-May [42].  In
parts of Britain, two periods of flowering (spring and summer) have been
observed at certain low-elevation sites [88].  Flowering may last 9 to
18 days [57] or as long as 19 to 27 days.  Fruit ripens approximately 78
to 84 days after full bloom [42].

Phenological development may be related to the timing of snowmelt [38].
In interior Alaska, plants were in maximum full bloom approximately 6
weeks after snowmelt and exhibited first visible signs of growth 2 weeks
after snowmelt.  Unusually cool temperatures can delay phenological
development.  Roots and rhizomes undergo two periods of active growth
annually in early spring and fall [42].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 52.  Karlsson, Staffan P. 1985. Photosynthetic characteristics and leaf        carbon economy of a deciduous and evergreen dwarf shrub: Vaccinium        uliginosum and V. vitis-idaea L. Holarctic Ecology. 8: 9-17.  [9158]
  • 57.  Kuchko, A.A. 1988. Bilberry and cowberry yields and the factors        controlling them in the forests of Karelia, U.S.S.R. Acta Bot. Fennica.        136: 23-25.  [8903]
  • 88.  Ritchie, J. C. 1955. Biological flora of the British Isles: Vaccinium        vitus-idaea L. Journal of Ecology. 43: 701-708.  [9025]
  • 101.  Trajkovski, Viktor. 1987. Facts about lingonberries (cowberries,        partridgeberries). Fruit Varieties Journal. 41(1): 39.  [9601]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 13
Specimens with Barcodes: 22
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vaccinium vitis-idaea ssp minus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 12
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread circumboreal species, in both northern Europe (ssp. vitis-idaea) and North America (ssp. minus), in sphagnum bogs and on open rock outcrops.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, peat

Fruit production:  Fruit production in mountain cranberry varies widely
according to geographic location, site factors such as shade and soil,
annual weather conditions, and the genetic make-up of the individual
clone [62,63,71,78,81].  Poor fruit production may be due to a lack of
pollinators, cold damp weather during flowering, late spring frosts, or
hail [42,43,57].  Plants growing in the shade rarely produce fruit or
flowers, but plants growing in full sun commonly bear an abundance of
fruit [62].  Some geographic variation in this pattern has been noted.
On dry sunny sites in Alberta, flower bud production may be greatest in
partial shade of aspen (Populus tremuloides) [38].  In the cool, rainy
climates of the Maritime Provinces, flower bud production is typically
best on exposed sites [38].  Kuchko [57] reported poor yields beneath
forest canopy, although yields were often good in adjacent gaps created
by timber harvest.

Fruit yields are generally greater on peat than on mineral soil [63].
Under experimental conditions, plants produced 82 kg/100 m sq on peat
but produced only 14 kg/100 m sq on mineral soil [63].  Temperatures of
30 degrees F (-1.5 degrees C) can kill 50 percent of all flowers, and
exposure to 26 degrees F (-3.5 degrees C) can destroy 50 percent of the
buds and unripe fruit [62].  In harsh arctic environments, only plants
in protected areas, such as on south-facing rock crevices, flower [42].

Maximum yields in cultivated stands may reach 9,140 pounds per acre
(8,150 kg/ha) [38].  Elsewhere, yields may range from 19.5 pounds per
acre (17.4 kg/ha) [51] in Swedish peatlands to 560 pounds per acre (500
kg/ha) in some Finnish forests [38].  Yields are generally highest where
mountain cranberry cover is greatest and competitors are few [71].
Details on fruit yields are available [32,57,81].

Cultivation:  Mountain cranberry generally responds more favorably to
fertilizer and irrigation than do other members of the genus [56].
However, the application of fertilizer does not always increase fruit
yields.  Comparatively little fertilizer is required for good growth and
development [42]; if too much is added, vegetative growth may be
promoted at the expense of fruit production [101].  Where weeds are a
problem, fertilizer may increase competitors at the expense of mountain
cranberry [62].  Mulches such as milled peat can increase fruit
production in some instances [42].  The effects of mulch, fertilizers,
and irrigation have been examined in detail [32,42,46,53,62,63].

Fruit yields may be increased by various means.  Herbicides have been
used to reduce weeds in commercially managed fields of mountain
cranberry [37,63].  Honeybees can be used to supplement native bee
populations when pollinator availability is low [74].  Fruit is
generally harvested by hand [42].  Small comb-sieves or rakes are
commonly used [38,101].

Chemical response:  Mountain cranberry is susceptible to herbicides such
as 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T [38].  These herbicides cause browning of stems and
leaves and at high concentrations can kill the plants [38].  The effect
of herbicides has been documented [8,38].

Damage/disease:  Plants can be killed by exposure to cold temperatures
in the absence of a protective snow cover [83].  Unacclimated plants can
be killed by exposure to temperatures of 28 degrees F (-2.5 degrees C)
or below;, acclimated plants can survive exposure to temperatures as low
as 8 degrees F (-22 degrees C) [42].  Mountain cranberry is susceptible
to several diseases and insect infestations [38,42].

Environmental considerations:  Mountain cranberry growing near smelters
can accumulate high concentrations of heavy metals [95].  Plants growing
near a zinc smelter in Poland exhibited reduced leaf size and other
types of damage [20].  Mountain cranberry can also accumulate a wide
range of radionuclides such as radium-226, lead-210, and uranium [97].

Tests indicate that summer oil spills are more damaging to mountain
cranberry than those that occur in February [38].  Predisturbance cover
of 48 percent was reduced to 0 by a summer crude oil spill.  A
low-intensity winter spill reduced cover to 12 percent while a
high-intensity oil winter spill reduced cover to 6 percent [38].
Recovery of mountain cranberry can occur 10 to 15 years after an oil
spill [38].

Timber harvest:  After some types of logging treatments in a mature
white spruce (Picea glauca) forest in Alaska, cover and frequency of
mountain cranberry increased fairly rapidly [26].

Biomass:  Mountain cranberry biomass is strongly correlated with canopy
cover [44,77].  Maximum dry matter accumulation occurs in full sunlight
[43].  Holloway [42] observed that 80 percent of the total biomass of
mature plants was underground.  Biomass has been examined in detail
[38,42,94].
  • 26.  Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Foote, M. J.; Zasada, J. C. 1988. The        effect on vegetation and soil temperature of logging flood-plain white        spruce. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-392. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 45 p.        [7471]
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 46.  Ingestad, Torsten. 1973. Mineral nutrient requirements of Vaccinium        vitis idaea and V. myrtillus. Physiological Plant. 29(2): 239-246.        [9116]
  • 8.  Bovey, Rodney W. 1977. Response of selected woody plants in the United        States to herbicides. Agric. Handb. 493. Washington, DC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 101 p.  [8899]
  • 20.  Czuchajowska, Zuzanna. 1987. Influence of zinc smelter emissions on        leaves of Pinus sylvestris and Vaccinium spp. as revealed by some        morphological & ecophys. indices. Environmental and Experimental        Biology. 27(1): 67-83.  [9255]
  • 32.  Fernqvist, I. 1977. Results of experiments with cowberries and        blueberries in Sweden. Acta Horticulturae. 61: 295-300.  [9609]
  • 37.  Hall, Ivan V.; Beil, Charles E. 1970. Seed germination, pollination, and        growth of Vaccinium vitis-idaea var. minus Lodd. Canadian Journal of        Plant Science. 50(6): 731-732.  [9174]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 43.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Stushnoff, Cecil; Wildung, David K. 1982.        Gibberellic acid-induced fruiting of lingonberries, Vaccinium        vitis-idaea L. ssp. minus (Lodd.) Hult. HortScience. 17(6): 953-954.        [9192]
  • 44.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Van Veldhuizen, Robert M.; Stushnoff, Cecil;        Wildung, David K. 1982. Effects of light intensity on vegetative growth        of lingonberries. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 62(4): 965-968.        [9164]
  • 53.  Karlsson, P. Staffan. 1985. Effects of water and mineral nutrient supply        on a deciduous and an evergreen dwarf shrub: Vaccinium uliginosum L. and        V. vitis-idaea L. Holarctic Ecology. 8: 1-8.  [9157]
  • 56.  Korcak, Ronald F. 1988. Nutrition of blueberry and other calcifuges.        Horticultural Reviews. 10: 183-227.  [9612]
  • 57.  Kuchko, A.A. 1988. Bilberry and cowberry yields and the factors        controlling them in the forests of Karelia, U.S.S.R. Acta Bot. Fennica.        136: 23-25.  [8903]
  • 62.  Lehmushovi, A. 1977. Trials with the cowberry in Finland. Acta        Horticulturae. 61: 301-308.  [9680]
  • 63.  Lehmushovi, Aaro; Sako, Jaakko. 1975. Domestication of the cowberry        (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) in Finland. Annales Agriculturae Fenniae. 14:        227-230.  [9520]
  • 71.  Manni, R. 1988. Biology and berry production of the cowberry in Estonian        SSR. Acta Bot. Fennica. 136: 33-36.  [8904]
  • 74.  Mohr, H. A.; Kevan, P. G. 1987. Pollinators and pollination requirements        of lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait. and V. myrtilloides        Michx.) and cranberry .... Proceedings of the Entomological Society of        Ontario. 118(0): 149-154.  [10806]
  • 77.  Oldemeyer, John L.; Seemel, Robert K. 1976. Occurrence and nutritive        quality of lowbush cranberry on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 54: 966-970.  [9641]
  • 78.  Paal, Taimi. 1988. The structure of South Karelian (U.S.S.R.) cowberry        coenopopulations. Acta Botanica Fennica. 136: 27-31.  [9606]
  • 83.  Raatikainen, Mikko; Vanninen, Irene. 1988. The effects of the 1984-1985        cold winter on the bilberry and ligonberry yield in Finland. Acta Bot.        Fennica. 136: 43-47.  [8902]
  • 94.  Shaver, Gaius R. 1986. Woody stem production in Alaskan tundra shrubs.        Ecology. 67(3): 660-669.  [4928]
  • 95.  Shaw, George. 1981. Concentrations of twenty-eight elements in fruiting        shrubs downwind of the smelter at Flin Flon, Manitoba. Environmental        Pollution (Series A). 25(3): 197-209.  [10794]
  • 97.  Sheard, J. W. 1986. Distribution of uranium series radionuclides in        upland vegetation of northern Saskatchewan. I. Plant and soil        concentrations. Canadian Journal of Botany. 64(11): 2446-2452.  [10680]
  • 101.  Trajkovski, Viktor. 1987. Facts about lingonberries (cowberries,        partridgeberries). Fruit Varieties Journal. 41(1): 39.  [9601]
  • 51.  Kardell, Lars. 1986. Occurrence and berry production of Rubus chamaemorus L., Vaccinium oxycoccus L. & Vaccinium microcarpum Turcz. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea on Swedish peatlands. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research. 1(1): 125-140.  [3711]
  • 81.  Penney, B. G.; McRae, K. B.; Hall, I. V.; Morris, R. F.; Hendrickson,        P. A. 1985. Effect of harvest date and location on the yield of        Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd in eastern Newfoundland. Crop        Research. 25(1): 21-26.  [9603]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Other uses and values

More info for the terms: cover, fresh

Mountain cranberry fruit can be eaten raw or cooked to make a tart sauce
[6,99].  Berries are used to make preserves, jam, jelly, candy, syrup,
pickles, juice beverages, and wine [42,47].  Fruit can be added to rose
hips to make a tasty jelly [38], or added to various ice cream products
[42].  In some areas, berry-picking is an important recreational
activity [59].  Fruit is widely processed and marketed in Japan and
Europe [42] and is harvested commercially in parts of Alaska,
Scandinavia, Russia, and Canada [42,43].  Considerable amounts of
fruit are imported into the United States annually [11].  Much of this
imported fruit is consumed by peoples of Scandinavian descent who use
the so-called "Swedish lingenberry" in traditional dishes [6].  Mountain
cranberry has the potential for more extensive commercial development
[15,37,74].  Some native stands could be managed with a minimum of
cultivation, as are those of low sweet blueberry [74].  The
feasibility of expanded commercial operations is currently being tested
in parts of North America [42].

Many Native Americans and indigenous peoples of Eurasia used the leaves
and fruit of mountain cranberry as food or medicine [57,106].
Preparations made from the leaves were used to treat bladder problems,
gout, and rheumatism [90].  Medicinal fruit jellies were used to treat
sore throats and colds [106].  The Slave, Athabaska, Cree, and Inuit
people ate the fruit fresh and preserved them for winter use [38,106].
Berries were often boiled and mixed with oil to facilitate storage for
long periods [106].

Arbutin, which is obtained from the leaves and stems, is used by the
pharmaceutical industry in preparations used to treat intestinal
disorders.  Mountain cranberry forms a dense, attractive mat and has
been planted as an ornamental ground cover [24].  It was first
cultivated in 1789 [42].  Mountain cranberry has shown promise for use
in developing hardy fruit-producing cultivars [64].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 6.  Biermann, John E. 1975. A description of Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Fruit        Varieties Journal. 29(1): 5-7.  [1901]
  • 11.  Camp, W. H. 1942. On the structure of populations in the genus        Vaccinium. Brittonia. 4(2): 189-204.  [9512]
  • 15.  Christ, E. 1977. Crossbreedings between cranberries (Vaccinium        macrocarpon Ait.) and cowberries (Vaccinium vitis idaea L.). Acta        Horticulturae. 61: 285-294.  [9506]
  • 24.  De Vault, Dorothea. 1977. Four uncommon groundcovers. American Rock        Garden Society Bulletin. 35(1): 36-40.  [9508]
  • 37.  Hall, Ivan V.; Beil, Charles E. 1970. Seed germination, pollination, and        growth of Vaccinium vitis-idaea var. minus Lodd. Canadian Journal of        Plant Science. 50(6): 731-732.  [9174]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 43.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Stushnoff, Cecil; Wildung, David K. 1982.        Gibberellic acid-induced fruiting of lingonberries, Vaccinium        vitis-idaea L. ssp. minus (Lodd.) Hult. HortScience. 17(6): 953-954.        [9192]
  • 47.  Iwagaki, H.; Ishikawa, S.; Tamada, T.; Koike, H. 1977. The present        status of blueberry work and wild Vaccinium species in Japan. Acta        Horticulturae. 61: 331-334.  [9701]
  • 57.  Kuchko, A.A. 1988. Bilberry and cowberry yields and the factors        controlling them in the forests of Karelia, U.S.S.R. Acta Bot. Fennica.        136: 23-25.  [8903]
  • 59.  Kuusipalo, Jussi; Niemensivu, Helena; Berg, Mari-Anna; Mikkola, Marja.        1989. A cross-sectional population survey on the consumption pattern of        berries and berry products in Finland. Silva Fennica. 23(1): 59-69.        [8529]
  • 64.  Liebster, G. 1977. Experimental and research work on fruit species of        the genus Vaccinium in Germany. Acta Horticulturae. 61: 19-24.  [9693]
  • 74.  Mohr, H. A.; Kevan, P. G. 1987. Pollinators and pollination requirements        of lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait. and V. myrtilloides        Michx.) and cranberry .... Proceedings of the Entomological Society of        Ontario. 118(0): 149-154.  [10806]
  • 90.  Robuck, O. Wayne. 1985. The common plants of the muskegs of southeast        Alaska. Miscellaneous Publication/July 1985. Portland, OR: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 131 p.  [11556]
  • 99.  Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life        Sciences Misc. Publ. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p.  [12907]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: rhizome

Potential rehabilitation value of mountain cranberry has not been well
documented.  Plants are able to survive on extremely harsh sites, and
some rehabilitation potential is possible.  On the Arctic Coastal Plain,
sprouts have been observed on and under debris left from oil exploration
activities [28].

Mountain cranberry can be readily propagated from seed and stem or
rhizome cuttings [32,42].  Meristem propagation techniques have also
been described [101].  Stem cuttings root easily if planted in the
spring or early fall but exhibit slow rhizome development and poor
subsequent vegetative spread [32].  Clumps of wild mountain cranberry
can be divided and transplanted onto disturbed sites [42].  Survival of
these transplants is variable, ranging from 30 to 90 percent [32].
Propagation techniques have been examined in detail [25,32,42,61,63].
  • 25.  Doran, William L. 1957. Propagation of woody plants by cuttings.        Experiment Station Bul. No. 491. Amherst, MA: University of        Massachusetts, College of Agriculture. 99 p.  [6399]
  • 28.  Ebersole, James J. 1987. Short-term vegetation recovery at an Alaskan        arctic coastal plain site. Arctic and Alpine Research. 19(4): 442-450.        [9476]
  • 32.  Fernqvist, I. 1977. Results of experiments with cowberries and        blueberries in Sweden. Acta Horticulturae. 61: 295-300.  [9609]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 61.  Lehmushovi, Aaro. 1975. Methods of propagating the cowberry. Annales        Agriculturae Fenniae. 14(4): 325-333.  [9776]
  • 63.  Lehmushovi, Aaro; Sako, Jaakko. 1975. Domestication of the cowberry        (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) in Finland. Annales Agriculturae Fenniae. 14:        227-230.  [9520]
  • 101.  Trajkovski, Viktor. 1987. Facts about lingonberries (cowberries,        partridgeberries). Fruit Varieties Journal. 41(1): 39.  [9601]

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Nutritional Value

Browse:  Nutrient content of browse varies according to factors such as
soils, phenological development, and proximity to smelters [42,45,95].
Calcium, manganese, aluminum, silver, lead, and boron tend to accumulate
in plant tissue even at low soil levels [42].  Food value peaks in
summer [38].  In winter, acid-detergent, fiber, and lignin content
increase but levels of magnesium, zinc, manganese, calcium, potassium,
sodium, copper, and iron decline.  Protein content remains relatively
constant throughout the year at 5 to 6 percent [77].  Energy content has
been estimated at 509 kcal/100 g [73].  Nutritional value of browse from
the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska was documented as follows [77]:
                        August          February
Protein (%)               5.7              5.4 
Ca (ppm)                4920.0            26.7
Mg (ppm)                1328.0             4.6
K (ppm)                  438.3            29.8
Na (ppm)                  55.0            22.8   
Cu (ppm)                   5.8             0.2
Fe (ppm)                  51.3             3.2
Mg (ppm)                  17.6             1.9
Zn (ppm)                   8.3             0.3

Fruit:  Berries are high in tannins and anthocyanins.  The caloric
content is moderate [38].
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 45.  Holloway, Patricia S.; Van Veldhuizen, Robert M.; Stushnoff, Cecil;        Wildung, David K. 1982. Vegetative growth and nutrient levels of        lingonberries grown in four Alaskan substrates. Canadian Journal of        Plant Science. 62(4): 969-977.  [9163]
  • 73.  Miller, Donald R. 1976. Taiga winter range relationships and diet.        Canadian Wildlife Service Rep. Series No. 36. Ottawa, ON: Environment        Canada, Wildlife Service. 42 p. (Biology of the Kaminuriak population of        barren-ground caribou; pt 3).  [13007]
  • 77.  Oldemeyer, John L.; Seemel, Robert K. 1976. Occurrence and nutritive        quality of lowbush cranberry on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 54: 966-970.  [9641]
  • 95.  Shaw, George. 1981. Concentrations of twenty-eight elements in fruiting        shrubs downwind of the smelter at Flin Flon, Manitoba. Environmental        Pollution (Series A). 25(3): 197-209.  [10794]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: bog

Browse: Mountain cranberry browse is readily eaten by barren-ground
caribou, black bear, moose, arctic hare, and snowshoe hare [38,42].  In
parts of Alaska, it is an important if not key moose browse [3].
Utilization by moose is typically heaviest when available browse is
limited and when light snow accumulations allow the animals to reach the
plants easily [93].  On the Kenai Peninsula, it may comprise up to 25
percent of winter moose diets.  Moose may dig through 20 inches (50 cm)
of snow to feed on the foliage, but if winter snow depths are excessive,
the animals rarely expend the energy necessary to reach the plants [77].
Generally, moose eat only trace amounts of mountain cranberry during the
summer [10,77].

In some parts of Canada, mountain cranberry browse is a primary food of
barren-ground caribou [73].  The evergreen leaves are an important item
in the winter diet [38].  In the Mackenzie District of northwestern
Saskatchewan, leaves of mountain cranberry and bog blueberry (V.
uliginosum) accounted for 21.5 percent of the barren-ground caribou
winter diet but only 3.8 percent of the summer diet [38].  However, in
some areas, caribou continue to feed heavily on mountain cranberry
browse throughout the summer [111].

In Newfoundland, snowshoe hares often consume large amounts of shoots
during the winter [38].  Where snow depths prohibit winter use, hares
may feed on leaves made available by melting snows.  Seasonal percent
composition of leaves of mountain cranberry and bog blueberry in the
diet of snowshoe hares in Newfoundland was as follows [118]:

             winter     April     May     summer     fall
              0.3       17.4      9.3      6.6       10.9 

Mountain cranberry browse is of little value to domestic livestock but
provides some winter browse for reindeer [23,73].  It is not eaten by
domestic sheep if more preferred forage is available [88].

Fruit:  Berries of mountain cranberry are an important food source for
many species of birds and mammals.  Many wildlife species feed on fruit
left on the ground from the previous year [38,55].  Berries are an
important spruce grouse food during spring, summer, and fall.  Berries
persisting from the previous year are eaten from late spring through
early August.  In interior Alaska, percent volume use of mountain
cranberry by spruce grouse was 37.6 in July and August, 40.1 in
September, and 17.3 in September [29].

In many areas, berries are an essential food source for birds migrating
northward in the spring [38,55].  The common raven, ring-necked
pheasant, rock ptarmigan, sea gulls, geese, grouse, partridges, and many
species of songbirds, such as the scarlet tanager, eastern bluebird, and
thrushes, readily consume mountain cranberry fruit [38,42,88].  Fruit of
Vacciniums are readily eaten by the northern mockingbird, rufous-sided
towhee, gray catbird, American robin, brown thrasher, ruffed grouse,
spruce grouse, whimbrel, herring gull, and Canada goose [72,105,106].

The red-backed vole eats large quantities of mountain cranberry fruit
during the fall.  Berries are a primary winter food source as well; the
rodents burrow under snow to reach the persistent fruit [117].  The red
fox also consumes large amounts of fruit during late fall [38].
Mountain cranberry fruit is an important black bear food in many areas
but is of particular importance in Alaska [40].  Berries remain on the
plant over winter, and black bears begin feeding on berries during the
early spring as soon as the snow has melted [38,40].  Fruit again
assumes importance in black bear diets during the fall [40].  Many other
mammals, including the polar bear, eastern chipmunk, and white-footed
mouse, also feed on the fruit of mountain cranberry [38,55].  Fruits of
many Vacciniums are readily eaten by species such as the red squirrel,
gray fox, skunks, and chipmunks [72,106].
  • 72.  Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American        wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p.        [4021]
  • 3.  Allen, Arthur W.; Jordan, Peter A.; Terrell, James W. 1987. Habitat        suitability index models: moose, Lake Superior region. Biol. Rep. 82        (10.155). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and        Wildlife Service. 47 p.  [11710]
  • 38.  Hall, Ivan V.; Shay, Jennifer, M. 1981. The biological flora of Canada.        3. Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. var. minus Lodd. Supplementary Account.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 95(4): 434-464.  [9125]
  • 10.  Butler, C. E. 1986. Summer food utilization and observations of a tame        moose Alces alces. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 100: 85-88.  [8871]
  • 23.  Dayton, William A. 1931. Important western browse plants. Misc. Publ.        101. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 214 p.  [768]
  • 29.  Ellison, Laurence. 1966. Seasonal foods and chemical analysis of winter        diet of Alaskan spruce grouse. Journal of Wildlife Management. 30(4):        729-735.  [9735]
  • 40.  Hatler, David F. 1972. Food habits of black bears in interior Alaska.        Canadian Field-Naturalist. 86(1): 17-31.  [10389]
  • 42.  Holloway, Patricia Sue. 1981. Studies on vegetative and reproductive        growth of lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. Saint Paul, MN:        University of Minnesota. 148 p. Thesis.  [9610]
  • 55.  Keeler, Harriet L. 1969. Vacciniaceae--huckleberry family. In: Our        northern shrubs and how to identify them. New York: Dover Publications,        Inc.: 315-342.  [9272]
  • 73.  Miller, Donald R. 1976. Taiga winter range relationships and diet.        Canadian Wildlife Service Rep. Series No. 36. Ottawa, ON: Environment        Canada, Wildlife Service. 42 p. (Biology of the Kaminuriak population of        barren-ground caribou; pt 3).  [13007]
  • 77.  Oldemeyer, John L.; Seemel, Robert K. 1976. Occurrence and nutritive        quality of lowbush cranberry on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 54: 966-970.  [9641]
  • 88.  Ritchie, J. C. 1955. Biological flora of the British Isles: Vaccinium        vitus-idaea L. Journal of Ecology. 43: 701-708.  [9025]
  • 93.  Schwartz, Charles C.; Regelin, Wayne L.; Franzmann, Albert W. 1988.        Estimates of digestibility of birch, willow, and aspen mixtures in        moose. Journal of Wildlife Management. 52(1): 33-37.  [4535]
  • 105.  Van Dersal, William R. 1938. Native woody plants of the United States,        their erosion-control and wildlife values. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture. 362 p.  [4240]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]
  • 111.  Viereck, L. A.; Dyrness, C. T. 1979. Ecological effects of the        Wickersham Dome Fire near Fairbanks, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-90.        Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific        Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 71 p.  [6392]
  • 117.  West, Stephen D. 1982. Dynamics of colonization and abundance in central        Alaskan populations of the northern red-backed vole, Clethrionomys        rutilus. Journal of Mammalogy. 63(1): 128-143.  [7300]
  • 118.  Wolff, Jerry O. 1978. Food habits of snowshoe hare in interior Alaska.        Journal of Wildlife Management. 42(1): 148-153.  [7443]

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Palatability

Mountain cranberry browse is at least seasonally palatable to many
species of mammals including the barren-ground caribou, snowshoe and
arctic hares, and moose.  Berries are readily eaten by a variety of
birds and mammals.  Palatability of the fruit increases over winter
[99].
  • 99.  Soper, James H.; Heimburger, Margaret L. 1982. Shrubs of Ontario. Life        Sciences Misc. Publ. Toronto, ON: Royal Ontario Museum. 495 p.  [12907]

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Wikipedia

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (lingonberry or cowberry) is a short evergreen shrub in the heath family that bears edible fruit, native to boreal forest and Arctic tundra throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Eurasia to North America. Lingonberries are a staple in Northern Scandinavia, picked in the wild and used to accompany a variety of dishes.[1] Commercial cultivation is undertaken in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.[2]

Names[edit]

Vaccinium vitis-idaea is most commonly known in English as lingonberry or cowberry.[3][4][5][6] The name lingonberry originates from the Swedish name lingon for the species.

The genus name Vaccinium is a classical Latin name for a plant, possibly the bilberry or a hyacinth, and may be derived from the Latin bacca, berry.[7][8] The specific name is derived from the new Latin word for lingonberries, vitis-idaea; itself ultimately derived from Latin vitis ("vine") and idaea, the feminine form of idaeus (literally "from Mount Ida", used in reference to raspberries Rubus idaeus).[9][10]

There are at least 25 other common names of Vaccinium vitis-idaea worldwide.[3] Other names include:

  • csejka berry
  • foxberry
  • quailberry
  • beaverberry
  • mountain cranberry
  • red whortleberry
  • bearberry
  • lowbush cranberry
  • cougarberry
  • mountain bilberry
  • partridgeberry[11] (in Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island)
  • redberry (in Labrador)

Description[edit]

Flowers and young shoots

Vaccinium vitis-idaea spreads by underground stems to form dense clonal colonies. Slender and brittle roots grow from the underground stems. The stems are rounded in cross-section and grow from 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) in height. Leaves grow alternately and are oval, 5–30 mm (0.2–1.2 in) long, with a slightly wavy margin, and sometimes with a notched tip.

Flowers

The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pale pink, 3–8 mm (0.1–0.3 in) long, and produced in the early summer.

The fruit is a red berry 6–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) across, with an acidic taste, ripening in late summer to autumn.[5][12]

Ecology[edit]

Vaccinium vitis-idaea keeps its leaves all winter even in the coldest years, unusual for a broad-leaved plant, though in its natural habitat it is usually protected from severe cold by snow cover. It is extremely hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) or lower, but grows poorly where summers are hot. It prefers some shade (as from a forest canopy) and constantly moist, acidic soil. Nutrient-poor soils are tolerated but not alkaline soils.

Varieties[edit]

There are two regional varieties or subspecies of V. vitis-idaea, one in Eurasia and one in North America, differing in leaf size:

Cultivation[edit]

In cultivation in the United Kingdom, the Koralle Group has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13]

Culinary uses[edit]

The berries collected in the wild are a popular fruit in northern, central and eastern Europe, notably in Nordic countries, the Baltic states, central and northern Europe. In some areas they can legally be picked on both public and private lands in accordance with the freedom to roam.

The berries are quite tart, so they are often cooked and sweetened before eating in the form of lingonberry jam, compote, juice, smoothie or syrup. The raw fruits are also frequently simply mashed with sugar, which preserves most of their nutrients and taste. This mix can be stored at room temperature in closed but not necessarily sealed containers, but in this condition, they are best preserved frozen. Fruit served this way or as compote often accompany game and liver dishes. In Sweden and Norway, reindeer and elk steak is traditionally served with gravy and lingonberry sauce. Preserved fruit is commonly eaten with meatballs, potato pancakes. A traditional Swedish dessert is lingonpäron (literally lingonberry pears), consisting of fresh pears which are peeled and boiled in lingondricka (lingonberry squash) and then preserved in the pear-infused lingonberry squash and not uncommonly eaten during Christmas. This was very common in old times, because it was an easy and tasty way to preserve pears. In Sweden and Russia, when sugar was still a luxury item, the berries were usually preserved simply by putting them whole into bottles of water. This was known as vattlingon (watered lingonberries); the procedure preserved them until next season. This was also a home remedy against scurvy. In Russia this preserve had been known as "lingonberry water" (брусничная вода) and is a traditional soft drink (Mors). In Russian folk medicine, lingonberry water was used as a mild laxative. A traditional Finnish dish is sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys) with mashed potatoes and lingonberries, either cooked or raw with sugar. In Finland, a porridge made from the fruit is also popular. In Poland, the berries are often mixed with pears to create a sauce served with poultry or game. The berries can also be used to replace redcurrants when creating Cumberland sauce to give it a more sophisticated taste.

19th century illustration

The berries are also popular as a wild picked fruit in Eastern Canada, for example in Newfoundland and Labrador and Cape Breton, where they are locally known as partridgeberries or redberries, and on the mainland of Nova Scotia, where they are known as foxberries. In this region they are incorporated into jams, syrups, and baked goods, such as pies, scones, and muffins.

Lingonberries are a staple item in Sweden. They are often sold as jam and juice, and as a key ingredient in dishes. They are used to make Lillehammer berry liqueur, and in East European countries, lingonberry vodka is sold.

The berries are an important food for bears and foxes, and many fruit-eating birds. Caterpillars of the case-bearer moths Coleophora glitzella, Coleophora idaeella and Coleophora vitisella are obligate feeders on V. vitis-idaea leaves.

Nutritional properties[edit]

Ripe lingonberries

The berries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), and the elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.[citation needed] In addition to these nutrients, they also contain phytochemicals that are thought to counteract urinary-tract infections, and the seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.[citation needed]

Traditional medicine[edit]

In folk medicine, V. vitis-idaea has been used as an apéritif, astringent, antihemorrhagic, anti-debilitive, depurative, antiseptic (especially for the urethra), a diuretic, a tonic for the nervous system, and in various ways to treat breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, and various urogenital conditions.[14] In traditional Austrian medicine the fruits have been administrated internally as jelly or syrup for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and urinary tract, and fever.[15]

Related species[edit]

Vaccinium vitis-idaea differs from the similar cranberries in having white flowers with petals partially enclosing the stamens and stigma, rather than pink flowers with petals reflexed backwards, and rounder, less pear-shaped berries.

Hybrids between Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Vaccinium myrtillus, named Vaccinium × intermedium Ruthe, are occasionally found in Europe.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Åkerström, Lola Akinmade. "10 things to know about Sweden's food culture". 10 July 2012. Sweden.se. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Economic Evaluation of Lingonberry Production in Oregon" "Oregon State University Extension Service" Dec 2003 [1]
  3. ^ a b Elden J. Stang, Gavin G. Weis, and John Klueh (1990). "Lingonberry: Potential New Fruit for the Northern United States". In J. Janick and J.E. Simon. Advances in new crops. Timber Press. pp. 321–323. 
  4. ^ Gray's Manual of Botany: Asa Gray
  5. ^ a b c d Interactive Flora of Northwest Europe: Vaccinium vitis-idaea
  6. ^ "Vaccinium vitis-idaea". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. 
  7. ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4.  p. 515.
  8. ^ Coombes, Allen J. (1994). Dictionary of Plant Names. London: Hamlyn Books. ISBN 978-0-600-58187-1.  p. 187.
  9. ^ "idaein". Merriam-Webster. 
  10. ^ "Raspberries". Botanical-online. 
  11. ^ Hall, Joan Houston (2002). Dictionary of American Regional English. Harvard University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-674-00884-7. Retrieved 2007-11-16. 
  12. ^ a b Flora of North America: Vaccinium vitis-idaea
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Vaccinium vitis-idaea Koralle Group AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-04. 
  14. ^ James A. Duke. "Vaccinium vitis-idaea (ERICACEAE)". Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  15. ^ Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B. Ethnopharmacological in vitro studieson Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs. J Ethnopharmacol.2013 Jun13. doi:pii: S0378-8741(13)00410-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23770053. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23770053
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Notes

Comments

The berries are nutritious, and are especially tasty after overwintering.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: The North American subspecies; ssp. vitis-idaea occurs in northern Europe (Fernald, 1950).

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Comments: Vaccinium vitis-idaea has two subspecies (or varieties); ssp. minus is North American, and ssp. vitis-idaea is in northern Europe.

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The currently accepted scientific name of mountain cranberry is
Vaccinium vitis-idaea Linnaeus (Ericaceae) [6,106,107]. Vaccinium
vitis-idaea ssp. minus (Lodd.) Hulten is the only recognized subspecies
occurring in North America [54].

In some areas, mountain cranberry hybridizes with dwarf bilberry (V.
myrtillus) [1]. A naturally occurring hybrid (V. X intermedium Ruthe.)
has been identified [87].
  • 6.  Biermann, John E. 1975. A description of Vaccinium vitis-idaea. Fruit        Varieties Journal. 29(1): 5-7.  [1901]
  • 106.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.        Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p.        [11436]
  • 54.  Kartesz, John T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of        the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II--thesaurus. 2nd ed.        Portland, OR: Timber Press. 816 p.  [23878]
  • 1.  Ahokas, Hannu. 1971. Notes on polyploidy and hybridity in Vaccinium        species. Annales Botanici Fennici. 8: 254-256.  [9699]
  • 87.  Ritchie, J. C. 1955. A natural hybrid in Vaccinium  I.  The structure,        performance, and chorology of the cross Vaccinium intermedium Ruthe. New        Phytology. 54: 49-67.  [9014]
  • 107.  Vander Kloet, S. P. 1989. Typification of some North American Vaccinium        species names. Taxon. 38: 129-134.  [8918]

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Common Names

mountain cranberry
northern mountain cranberry
lowbush cranberry

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