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Common Shrub Species of the Northwest Forest

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Oxycoccus microcarpus
Small Cranberry
Ericaceac (Heath Family)

Description

General - tiny, vine-like, evergreen shrub; stems thread-like, slender, 10-50 cm long, creeping and rooting.

Small Cranberry Leaves - alternate; widely spaced, leathery, elliptic to egg-shaped, 2-6 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, sharp-pointed, dark green above; grey-waxy below; edges rolled underneath.

Flowers - 1-3 on slender, 1-4 cm long, hairless stalks; deep pink, drooping; 4 petals, 5-7 mm long, sharply bent backwards like miniature shooting stars; 8 protruding stamens; appearing in late June and July.

Fruit - pale-pink to dark red (often spotted) berries, 5-10 mm across; look too big for plant; ripening in August and September.

Habitat

Bogs, swamps and fens, usually on sphagnum moss; widespread across NW Ontario's boreal forest, north to Arctic coast; circumpolar.

Notes

The fruit of the Small Cranberry is used commercially in the preparation of conserves and juices.

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