Cranberry bush with fruit partially submerged
Approximate ranges of the cranberries in
sect. Oxycoccos: Red: Common Cranberry.
Orange: Small Cranberry. Green: American
Cranberries are a group of evergreen
dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus
Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some
treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos.
They are found in acidic bogs throughout the
cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or
vines up to 2 m long and 5 to 20 cm in
height; they have slender, wiry stems that
thickly woody and have small
evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink,
with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the
style and stamens fully exposed and pointing
forward. They are pollinated by domestic
honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry
that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it
is initially white, but turns a deep red when
fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste
that can overwhelm its sweetness.
Cranberries are a major commercial crop
in certain American states and Canadian
provinces (see "Cultivation and Uses" below).
Most cranberries are processed into products
such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried
cranberries (e.g. Craisins), with the re-
mainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry
sauce is regarded an indispensable part of
traditional American and Canadian Thanks-
giving menus and European winter festivals.
Since the early 21st century within the
global functional food industry, there has
been a rapidly growing recognition of cran-
berries for their consumer product popular-
ity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualit-
ies, giving them commercial status as a
Species and description
There are three to four species