Empetrum nigrum

Crowberry, photo: Jan.W.Ahlfors

Crowberry is an evergreen dwarf shrub in our bogs and moors. They can often be seen growing with heathers, with which they have similar leaves. Crowberry leaves are just a few millimetres long, very thin, and dark green. Because the leaves are situated crosswise with their stems, they look like tiny needles of conifers. Interestingly enough, the leaves of crowberries are actually much wider – they are simply always rolled up. This makes it seem like the leaves are hollow. Crowberries are rather common in Estonia, but their berries are not eaten here. The berries of crowberry that grow in colder areas are more tasty and juicy, which is why locals eat them like we eat blueberries and cowberries. Their shiny black berries are actually stone fruits, with interesting three-sided hard seeds inside them. Like most bog plants, the crowberry also usually reproduces with long aboveground stems, not with seeds.