Viburnum Edule. Highbush Cranberry.

Viburnum edule. Highbush cranberry.

Viburnum edule, commonly known as the Highbush cranberry, is a deciduous shrub native to North America, particularly flourishing in the northern regions and moist woodland areas. The plant is characterized by its upright growth habit, typically reaching heights between 3 to 12 feet. Its leaves, which are oppositely arranged, possess a distinct three-lobed shape, resembling that of a maple, and turn a vibrant shade of red during the fall season. Throughout spring, the Highbush cranberry showcases clusters of creamy-white flowers, which transform into bright red, translucent berries by late summer to early fall. While these berries are often mistaken for true cranberries due to their similar appearance, they are notably more tart and have a unique, slightly bitter aftertaste. Not only are they cherished by various wildlife, including birds and mammals, but they have also been traditionally harvested by indigenous communities for medicinal purposes and as a nutritious food source.

Aside from its ecological and cultural significance, the Highbush cranberry is also appreciated for its ornamental value in gardens and landscapes. Its lustrous green foliage, striking autumnal hues, and vivid berries provide multi-seasonal interest, making it a favorite among garden enthusiasts and landscape designers. Moreover, the plant’s hardy nature and adaptability to varying soil types enhance its appeal, granting it a place in various habitats, from wetlands and swamps to open woodlands. When planting, it’s advisable to provide adequate spacing to accommodate its mature size and to place it in an area where its splendid display can be admired throughout the year.

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