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Overview

Brief Summary

Vaccinium macrocarpon, the cranberry or large cranberry (sometimes classified in the genus Oyycoccos), is a dwarf, prostrate, mat-forming, evergreen shrub species in the Ericaceae (heath family) native to North America and typically found in bog mats, although it may grown in other wet areas (including dune swales and nutrient-poor fens). This species is the source of all commercially cultivated cranberries, although the small or European cranberry (V. oxycoccos, which occurs in northern Europe and northern Asia, as well as North America) is also wild-harvested and commonly used in Europe. Cranberries, which are high in vitamin C and iron, are popular for making into juice, as well as for use in cranberry sauce, jellies, and jams. Cranberries are also sold in supplement form for their beneficial effects on the urinary tract.

Cranberries are creeping woody plants with slender stems up to 1 m (3 ft) long and alternate, elliptic to oblong evergreen leaves up to 2 cm (0.75 in) long, with obtuse points at the leaf tips (or they may be rounded or even slightly notched at the tips) and white beneath. The pink campanulate (bell-shaped), 4-parted flowers are borne in lateral clusters of several flowers each. The fruits are berries that ripen to bright red, and are around 2 cm in diameter, considerably larger than in V. oxycoccos, which has fruit less than 1 cm (3/8 in) across. When cultivated commercially, the plants are often grown in sandy marshes, which are floody at harvest time, allowing the ripe fruits to float to the top, where they can be scooped up by mechanical harvesters.

Cranberry species, which have a more limited distribution than various other North American Vaccinium species, are an important seasonal food source for several species of birds. They were an important food for native peoples of North America for many centuries, but were generally wild-harvested, sometimes in managed stands, rather than cultivated. The development of cultivated varieties cranberries occurred only during the past 100 years, making it one of the most recently domesticated fruit crops.

FAO estimates that the total commercial harvest of cranberries was 394,606 metric tons in 2010, harvested from 22,444 hectares. The U.S. was responsible for 78% of the total, and Canada produced 19%, with considerably smaller harvests in Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Latvia, among others. Within the U.S., Wisconsin and Massachusetts are the leading cranberry producers, responsible for 58% and 28%, respectively, of the U.S. harvest, followed by New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. These figures likely understate the full economic importance, as many fruits are wild-harvested for local, rather than commercial use.

(Bailey et al. 1976, FAOSTAT 2012, Flora of North America 2012, Hedrick 1919, Martin et al. 1951, NASS 2011, van Wyk 2005.)

  • Bailey, L.H., E.Z. Bailey, and the L.H. Bailey Hortatorium. 1976. Hortus Third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan. p. 1129.
  • FAOSTAT. 2012. Searchable online statistical database from Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations. Retrieved 10 July 2012 from http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=567#ancor.
  • Flora of North America. 2012 45. Vaccinium Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 349. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 166. 1754.Flora of North America8: 515. Accessed 12 July 2012 online: http://efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=134285.
  • Hedrick, U.P., ed. 1919. Sturtevant’s Notes on Edible Plants. State of New York. Dept of Agriculture. 27th annual report, vol. 2, part II. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Co. pp. 585–588.
  • Martin, A.C., H.S. Zim, and A.L. Nelson. 1951. American wildlife & plants a guide to wildlife food habits: the use of trees, shrubs, weeds, and herbs by birds and mammals of the United States. Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior. New York: Dover. pp. 356–358.
  • NASS. 2011. Cranberries. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Accessed 12 July 2012 online from http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1044..
  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. “Vaccinium corymbosum” “Vaccinium macrocarpon,” and “Vaccinium myrtillus.” Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 373–375.
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There is something mysterious about cranberries. People have their secret places where they pick this sour berry and they don't readily tell others. The cranberry is especially known from Terschelling; however it also grows in the dunes on other Wadden Islands, and occasionally along the shores of the mainland. When it was discovered in the 19th century, botanists thought that it was a resurrection of an indigenous heath species. But in reality it is native to eastern North America. Cranberries grow is nutrient-poor damp (dune) slacks and peat grounds. Although Terschelling is famous for its cranberry pie, jam and syrup, most berries are presently harvested on Vlieland.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Native in northeastern North America from Newfoundland to southern Ontario and central Minnesota south to northern Illinois, northern Ohio, and central Indiana, and in the Appalachian mountains and along the coastal plain south to North Carolina (Vander Kloet 1988, Kartesz 1999, Weakley 2000). Occasionally escaped from cultivation in British Columbia, Washington, and northern California (Hitchcock and Cronquist 1974, Hickman 1997, Douglas et al. 1999). Also adventive along the eastern shore of Maryland (Vander Kloet 1988). Cultivated extensively in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon (Vander Kloet 1988). Introduced in Europe and thrives as an escape in Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands (Vander Kloet 1988).

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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Large Cranberry in Illinois

Vaccinium macrocarpon (Large Cranberry)
(bees suck nectar or collect pollen, while the Syrphid fly probably feeds on stray pollen; observations are from Reader and Cane & Schiffhauser)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq (Rd, CS); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus spp. sn cp fq (Rd), Bombus affinis sn (CS), Bombus bimaculatus fq (Rd), Bombus griseocallis (Rd), Bombus impatiens (Rd), Bombus terricola fq (Rd), Bombus vagans fq (Rd), Psithyrus sp. sn (Rd); Megachilidae (Megachilinae): Megachile addenda sn (CS)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochloropsis sp. fq (Rd), Lasioglossum spp. cp fq (Rd); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena spp. (Rd), Andrena vicina (Rd)

Flies
Syrphidae: Unidentified sp. fsp (Rd)

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Foodplant / gall
Dasineura oxycoccana causes gall of Vaccinium macrocarpon

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vaccinium macrocarpon

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vaccinium macrocarpon

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Fairly widespread as a native plant in northeastern North America (Kartesz 1999). Found in acidic soils and peatlands including bogs, fens, swamps, and interdunal swales (Vander Kloet 1988, Weakley 2000). Occasional in the main portion of its range (Haines and Vining 1988, Rhoads and Block 2000). Rare in the southern portion of its range along the Appalachians and the Southeastern coastal plain (Weakley 2000).

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Threats

Comments: Vaccinium macrocarpon occurs in very sensitive habitats, making it especially vulnerable to land-use conversion and habitat fragmentation, particularly the conversion of wetlands and bogs; bog succession in the southern Appalachians is a low-level threat (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Wikipedia

Vaccinium macrocarpon

Vaccinium macrocarpon (also called large cranberry, American cranberry and bearberry) is a cranberry of the subgenus Oxycoccus and genus Vaccinium. It is native to North America (eastern Canada, and eastern United States, south to North Carolina at high altitudes). Preliminary studies show V. macrocarpon fruit has antibacterial activity against the intestinal pathogens Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes.[2]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) Synonyms". The Natural Standard Research Collaboration. MayoClinic. 
  2. ^ Lacombe A, McGivney C, Tadepalli S, Sun X, Wu VC (2013). "The effect of American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) constituents on the growth inhibition, membrane integrity, and injury of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes in comparison to Lactobacillus rhamnosus". Food Microbiology 34 (2): 352–359. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2013.01.008. PMID 23541202. 
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