Discoveries Out & About: Oxycoccus macrocarpus (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Large Cranberry ~ Oxycoccus macrocarpus (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Other Common Name: American Cranberry

This photo of the Large Cranberry was taken in early spring across the road from my house in a wetland. We donned our rubber boots and went out into the wetland to see what was growing there last spring. The water level was down and we were able to walk on the spongy but still frozen Sphagnum moss hummocks.

Image Source: USDA Agriculture Research Service photo gallery 
I was really surprised to see the Large Cranberry plants, thinking that the native species needed a very acidic environment to grow in. In our area in central Minnesota, our soils are quite alkaline. According to Welby Smith in his book Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota, the Small Cranberry (Oxycoccus quadripetalus) requires the most acidic habitat (pH of 2.5-3.8) but the Large Cranberry needs a pH range of 4.8-6.1.

I hope to go back out next summer and photograph the Cranberry in flower.

This Cranberry is the same species used for commercial production.