Herb: American Cranberry

Latin name: Vaccinium macrocarpon

Synonyms: Oxycoccus macrocarpos

Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Medicinal use of American Cranberry:

An infusion of the branches has been used as a treatment for pleurisy.

Description of the plant:


20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Acid boggy ground.

Edible parts of American Cranberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. It can also be dried for winter use. Rich in vitamin C, the fruit is too acid for most peoples tastes to be eaten raw, so it is mainly used in pies, preserves etc. It is said that a teaspoon of salt added to the cooking fruit can take the place of half the sugar normally used. The fruit is between 1 and 2cm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way. Plants spread rapidly when they are thriving.

Propagation of American Cranberry:

Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings in April of shoots 15cm long, in a sandy mix in a frame covered in plastic to keep them moist. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame. Slow and difficult. Layering in late summer or early autumn. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer. Takes 18 months. Division of suckers in spring or early autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Acid boggy ground.

Known hazards of Vaccinium macrocarpon:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.