Plants and People Project

Cranberry - Vaccinium macrocarpon

The cranberry blossom resembles the neck and head of a crane. That is why the Europeans called it Crane berry. (American native Sandhill Crane)

In addition to harvesting the berries for food, American Indians made medicines from the berries. They also used the juice of the berry to make a dye. Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association

People make a variety of relishes from the berries of this plant. They are also dried and eaten plain or in mixes with other dried fruits and nuts. I add them to cranberry orange cheesecake.

Cranberry recipe at NativeTech

It is believed that the chemicals in cranberries may help fight gum disease. University of Maine Cooperative Extension - Cranberry site.

Cranberries are used today to treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Maryland Medical Center Programs Complementary Medicine Program

Cranberries are a good source of Vit. C. They were eaten by sailors to combat scurvy. University of Maine Cooperative Extension

I use them as a pretty ground cover in my gardens.

Insects are attracted to the nectar of the flowers.


DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past. Be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Identification and facts / More Facts / The American Cranberry


crane berry flowers

ripe cranberries

images property of Charles Armstrong used with permission

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Posted 7/24/05 Cindy O'Hora