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Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.
Lingonberry, Northern Mountain-cranberry, Cowberry
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
USDA Symbol: VAVI
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)
A low, creeping, diffusely branched shrub with leathery, oval, evergreen leaves. Pinkish, nodding, bell-shaped flowers occur in small, terminal clusters and are followed by red, edible berries.
The acidic fruits, sometimes called lingonberries, are somewhat bitter. They often overwinter on the plant and become sweeter by the time the snow melts.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Mat-forming, up to about 6 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Pinkish white.
DistributionUSA: AK , CT , MA , ME , MI , MN , NH , VT , WI
Canada: AB , BC , NB , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Greenland to AK, s. at high elevations to New England, n. MN & in the west to B.C.
Native Habitat: Bogs; rocky areas
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil Description: Acid, peaty or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Commonly grown as a ground cover in the Pacific Northwest.
BenefitUse Food: The acid fruits are somewhat bitter but can be used as a substitute for regular cranberries when cooked. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Vaccinium species are propagated by seeds, cuttings and rooted suckers of offshoots.
Seed Treatment: Dormancy varies. Cold-moist stratification may be necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
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National Wetland Indicator Status
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.2 - Preservation Blooms in Recreated Prairies, New Wildflower Center Prairie Welcome...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Vaccinium vitis-idaea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium vitis-idaea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium vitis-idaea
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff