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Large Cranberry

Vaccinium macrocarpon

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, gardens, meadows, swamps.

Pink, 4 petals
White or pink, bell-shaped flowers appearing together in clusters. Large Cranberry has larger flowers than the similar looking Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and Small Cranberry (Vaccinium microcarpum). Pollinated by insects.
Dark red berries, 1 to 2cm in diameter. The seeds ripen from August to October.
A low growing evergreen shrub with oblong leaves. Garden escape species. Grows wild on acid, boggy ground.
Other Names:
American Cranberry, Bearberry, Cranberry.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Vaccinium macrocarpon, also known as American cranberry or large cranberry, is a low-growing, evergreen shrub in the heath family (Ericaceae). It is native to North America and is found in a variety of habitats, including bogs, swamps, and wet meadows. American cranberry has large, red, edible berries that are similar to those of the more well-known cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos). The plant also has small, pink or white flowers that bloom in the spring, and its leaves are dark green and oval-shaped. American cranberry is known for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including urinary tract infections and respiratory problems. It is also an important commercial crop and is often used to make cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and other cranberry-based products.


Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), also known as American Cranberry, is a deciduous shrub native to North America. This fruit is well-known for its vibrant red color and tart flavor, making it a popular ingredient in sauces, desserts, and juices.

Cranberries grow in bogs and marshes, where the acidic soil and abundant water supply provide the perfect growing conditions for this hardy plant. The Large Cranberry gets its name from its large size compared to other varieties of cranberries. In addition to its size, the Large Cranberry is also distinct for its tough skin and firm flesh, which make it ideal for processing and storage.

Cranberries are not only delicious, but they are also packed with a variety of health benefits. They contain high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect against various diseases and conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and inflammatory disorders. Cranberries are also a rich source of vitamin C, fiber, and manganese, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.

One of the most popular uses for cranberries is in cranberry sauce, which is typically served alongside turkey during the holidays. However, this versatile fruit can be used in a variety of dishes, including muffins, breads, cakes, and pies. Cranberries can also be dried or frozen, making it easy to enjoy their flavor and benefits all year round.

In addition to its culinary uses, cranberries have also been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. Cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. Cranberries are also sometimes used to treat gum disease, as they contain compounds that can help reduce plaque and promote oral health.

The Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a tasty and nutritious fruit with a long history of use in both cooking and medicine. Whether you are making cranberry sauce for your holiday meal, snacking on dried cranberries, or sipping cranberry juice, this versatile fruit is sure to make a healthy and delicious addition to your diet.

Large Cranberries are a major crop in North America, with the majority of production taking place in the United States. In fact, the cranberry industry is a major contributor to the economy, providing jobs and income for many communities. The cranberry industry has also made significant investments in research and development, leading to innovations in production, harvesting, and processing methods.

One of the most interesting things about cranberries is the way they are harvested. Unlike other fruits that are picked by hand, cranberries are harvested using a method known as "wet harvesting." This involves flooding the cranberry bogs with water, causing the berries to float to the surface where they can be easily collected. This method not only makes harvesting more efficient, but it also helps protect the delicate fruit from damage.

Cranberries are also a sustainable crop, with many growers implementing environmentally-friendly practices to reduce their impact on the environment. These practices include reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers, preserving natural habitats, and implementing water management techniques to conserve resources.

In addition to their health benefits, cranberries are also a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether you are making a classic cranberry sauce, a sweet and tart dessert, or a refreshing juice, this fruit is sure to add a burst of flavor and nutrition to your meal.

The Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a unique and valuable crop that provides numerous health benefits, job opportunities, and environmental benefits. Whether you are looking to improve your health, support local agriculture, or add a tasty twist to your cooking, cranberries are a great choice.

The popularity of cranberries has led to the development of various cranberry-based products, such as cranberry juice, supplements, and dried cranberries. Cranberry juice is a common product and is widely available in grocery stores and supermarkets. Some people drink cranberry juice for its health benefits, while others enjoy its tart flavor.

Cranberry supplements are another popular product, available in various forms such as capsules, tablets, and powders. These supplements are a convenient way to get the health benefits of cranberries without having to consume large amounts of the fruit. However, it is important to note that the benefits of cranberry supplements are not yet fully understood and more research is needed.

Dried cranberries are a convenient snack that can be enjoyed on their own or added to recipes for a sweet and tart flavor. They are also a popular ingredient in trail mix, granola bars, and yogurt. Dried cranberries are also a great option for those who want to enjoy the health benefits of cranberries but don't have access to fresh fruit.

Cranberries are also used in various industrial applications, such as in the production of food and beverages, cosmetic products, and even as a natural dye. Cranberry extract is used as a natural colorant in food and cosmetic products due to its vibrant red color.

In conclusion, Large Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are a versatile and valuable fruit that provide numerous health benefits, job opportunities, and environmental benefits. Whether you are drinking cranberry juice, taking cranberry supplements, snacking on dried cranberries, or using cranberry extract in your products, cranberries are a great choice for improving your health and supporting a sustainable future. So be sure to include this nutritious and delicious fruit in your diet and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer!

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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