Oxycoccus palustris

Cranberry, photo: Jan.W.Ahlfors

An evergreen dwarf bush in the Ericaceae family, known for its sour-tasting red berries. Few people know that cranberries grow on woody plants. The fine stems of cranberry, which are only up to a few millimetres thick, are soft in the first year, but become wooden in the second year. Like many large shrubs and trees, the peel of the cranberry’s stem also starts to scale off and detach in small pieces after a while. It gets all the necessary supplies from the water in the peat moss turf and from air. It can even rise upwards, as the peat moss grows during a year. It can cope in the acidic environment and hot sunshine of mires. The only thing the cranberries cannot cope with is drainage work by humans, which they do not survive. It is a beautiful bog plant with small pink flowers. Benzoic acid found in cranberries has a strong anti-bacterial effect, and therefore, cranberries remain fresh for a very long time.