E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Vaccinium oxycoccos L.
bog cranberry
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© David Blevins  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #509)

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Distribution of Vaccinium oxycoccos
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Species Information

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Small, creeping shrub; stems very slender, 15-50 cm long, 0.2-1 mm thick, glabrous to finely hairy.
Evergreen, alternate, leathery, egg- to lance-shaped, tapering to tip, 2-10 mm long, 1-5 mm wide, deep green and shining on the upper surface, greyish beneath, margins rolled under.
In apparently terminal clusters of 1 to several, or sometimes lateral; flower stalks very slender, 2-5 cm long, glabrous or finely hairy, curved downward near summit at flowering, erect in fruit, with 2 bracts, 1-2.5 mm long, usually below midlength of the stalk; corollas deep pink, of 4 distinct petals, oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 5-8 mm long, curved back; calyx lobes 4, less than 1 mm long; stamens 8, filaments hairy on margins and at least half as long as the anthers; anthers unawned, with terminal tubes.
Berries, 5-12 mm wide, pale-pink to deep red.
Some authors split this taxon into two or more species. Recent studies suggest that this is unwarranted (Vander Kloet 1983). Although sometimes considered part of the genus Vaccinium, Oxycoccus is treated separately here (as in many other floras). The flowers of Oxycoccus are 4-merous and the corollas are deeply parted, with only the base being joined. In contrast, the corollas of Vaccinium are united and generally only toothed or undulating at the summit. The differences in the flowers and growth habit seem to justify the separation.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Bogs in the lowland and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NB and NS, and S to OR, ID, and MN; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, circumpolar evergreen shrub (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on wet to very wet, nitrogen-poor soils within montane boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates in nutrient-poor wetlands; its occurrence increases with increasing latitude and continentality.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Oxycoccus oxycoccos (Linnaeus) MacMillan

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References