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Empetrum nigrum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
120 centimetres tall
Bogs, heathland, moorland, mountains.

Pink, 5 petals
Very small, pale pink flowers situated at the bases of the leaves. 3 stamens per flower. Insect pollinated.
The fruit is a green berry (drupe) which turns pink, purple and then black. The berries measure about 7 or 8mm in diameter. The fruit appears from May to December. The seeds ripen in September. Occasionally the fruits are red.
A perennial, dwarf shrub with flat, glossy, stalkless leaves that are stubby and needle-like in appearance. The leaves spiral up the stems and are about 6mm in length. The ends of the stems are reddish.
Other Names:
Black Crowberry, Blackberry, Juniperberry, Mossberry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Empetrum nigrum, also known as black crowberry or juniperberry, is a species of flowering plant in the heath family. It is native to Canada, Greenland, and parts of the United States, and grows in cold, damp, acidic soils in areas with long winters and short summers. The plant has small, evergreen leaves and small, black berries that are edible and often used in jams and jellies. It is also used for landscaping and erosion control due to its ability to tolerate cold temperatures and thrive in poor soil conditions.


Crowberry: A Unique and Nutritious Berry

Crowberry, also known as Empetrum nigrum, is a type of berry that is commonly found in Northern hemisphere regions including the Arctic, subarctic, and alpine areas of Europe, Asia, and North America. This small, low-growing plant has been a staple food for indigenous people in the Arctic for centuries.

Crowberries are small, black or dark purple berries that grow on low-growing shrubs. They are usually harvested between late summer and early autumn, when they are ripe and ready to be picked. The berries are small, but they are packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants.

Crowberries are often used to make jams, jellies, and syrups, as well as being added to baked goods and other recipes for added flavor and nutrition. The berries have a unique taste, which is described as tart and slightly sweet, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. They are also often used to make tea, which is said to have a soothing effect on the body and mind.

One of the most notable health benefits of crowberries is their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants are compounds that help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause damage to cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Crowberries contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanin, which is known for its powerful antioxidant properties.

Crowberries are also a great source of fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and preventing constipation. Fiber helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can help to prevent overeating and weight gain.

In addition to their nutritional benefits, crowberries are also known for their medicinal properties. For example, they are often used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including digestive problems, colds and flu, and skin conditions. The berries are also said to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce pain and swelling in the body.

Crowberries are a unique and nutritious berry that is worth incorporating into your diet. Whether you add them to your baked goods, make tea with them, or simply enjoy them as a snack, you'll be getting a boost of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that are good for your health. So next time you come across these little black berries, don't hesitate to give them a try!

Crowberries are also known for their beauty benefits. The high vitamin C content in these berries makes them an excellent ingredient for skincare products. Vitamin C is known for its skin-brightening and anti-aging properties, which can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. When applied topically, vitamin C can help to boost collagen production, which is a protein that gives skin its firmness and elasticity.

The low-growing habit of crowberry plants makes them ideal for use in landscaping and gardening. They are often used as ground covers in gardens and landscaped areas, as they are low maintenance and hardy. They are also suitable for use in rock gardens and on slopes, as they are able to grow in harsh and rocky conditions.

Crowberries are also important for wildlife and the environment. The berries are a staple food for many species of birds, including grouse, ptarmigan, and Arctic and alpine birds. The plants also provide important habitat for other wildlife, including insects, small mammals, and amphibians.

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in cultivating crowberries for commercial purposes. As their popularity grows, they are being used in a variety of products, including supplements, health drinks, and skincare products. With their unique taste, high nutrient content, and multiple health benefits, it is no wonder that crowberries are gaining popularity as a “superfood.”

Crowberries are also a great option for those who are looking for a natural and sustainable food source. Unlike many other fruits and berries, crowberries are often harvested from the wild and are not grown on large commercial farms. This makes them a more environmentally friendly option, as they do not require the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

Additionally, crowberries have a long history of use in traditional medicine, and they have been used to treat a variety of health problems for centuries. In some cultures, they are still used as a natural remedy for digestive problems, colds and flu, and skin conditions. This is due to their high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, which makes them an excellent natural remedy for many common health problems.

However, it is important to note that the health benefits of crowberries have not been extensively researched by modern medical science. While there is evidence to suggest that they are a nutritious and healthy food, it is always best to talk to a doctor before using them as a natural remedy.

Finally, crowberries are a great option for those who are looking for a food that is low in calories and high in nutrients. With only a few calories per serving, they are a great food to snack on between meals. Additionally, they are low in fat and sugar, making them a healthier alternative to many other types of snack foods.

In conclusion, crowberries are a unique and nutritious berry that should be on everyone's radar. With their unique taste, beauty benefits, and health properties, they are a food that is both delicious and good for you. Whether you are looking for a healthy snack, a natural remedy, or a sustainable food source, crowberries are definitely worth trying!


Crowberry filmed on Winter Hill, Lancashire on the 27th August 2022.


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