NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF UKRAINE
State Museum of Natural History
Biodiversity Data Centre

Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.

Synonym
  • Rhodococcum vitis-idaea (L.) Avrorin
  • Vaccinium punctatum Lam.
  • Vaccinium vitus-idaea L.
Vernacular Name
Alpine Cranberry
Images
Conservation status
No status defined
Value of species
Medicinal plant; Ornamental species; Nectar source; Edible
Remarks
Detail
A short evergreen shrub in the heath family that bears edible fruit, native to boreal forest and Arctic tundra throughout the Northern Hemisphere from Europe and Asia to North America. Lingonberries are picked in the wild and used to accompany a variety of dishes in Northern Baltoscandia, Russia, Canada and Alaska. Commercial cultivation is undertaken in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and in many other regions of the world. Vaccinium vitis-idaea spreads by underground stems to form dense clonal colonies. Slender and brittle roots grow from the underground stems. The stems are rounded in cross-section and grow from 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) in height. Leaves grow alternately and are oval, 5–30 mm (1⁄4–1 1⁄8 in) long, with a slightly wavy margin, and sometimes with a notched tip. The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pale pink, 3–8 mm (1⁄8–3⁄8 in) long, and produced in the early summer. The fruit is a red berry 6–10 mm (1⁄4–3⁄8 in) across, with an acidic taste, ripening in late summer to autumn. While bitter early in the season, they sweeten if left on the branch through winter. Vaccinium vitis-idaea keeps its leaves all winter even in the coldest years, unusual for a broad-leaved plant, though in its natural habitat it is usually protected from severe cold by snow cover. It is extremely hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as −40°C (−40°F) or lower, but grows poorly where summers are hot. It prefers some shade (as from a forest canopy) and constantly moist, acidic soil. Nutrient-poor soils are tolerated but not alkaline soils. The berries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta carotene), B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), and the elements potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Book reference
  • Кузярін О.Т. Судинні рослини території торфовища "Білогорща” (м. Львів) // Наукові основи збереження біотичної різноманітності. - 2010. - Т.1(8), №1. - С.75-90.
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Experts
  • Alexander KUZYARIN, Dr, e-mail: kuzyarin@gmail.com

Taxonomic branch

Biota
Eukaryota
Plantae
Viridiplantae
Tracheophyta
Euphyllophytina
Magnoliopsida
Ericales
Ericaceae