[Sca-cooks] cranberries

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 9 14:45:36 PDT 2009

Cranberries are genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium species are commonly eaten 
throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Naturally, not all Vaccinia are 
cranberries. Here's what i've found.

Plants in the genus Vaccinium are shrubs that require acidic soils, 
and in the wild they grow in heaths, bogs, and some woodlands. 
According to what i read, the name "vaccinium" was used in classical 
Latin for a type of berry, which is probably the bilberry (V. 

The genus contains about 450 species, most of which are found in 
cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere, although there are tropical 
species from areas as widely separate as Madagascar and Hawaii.

Primary species among genus Vaccinium are, in alphabetical order:
- bilberry or whortleberry (Europe)
- blueberry (North America)
- cranberry (Europe, Asia, North America)
- huckleberry (North and South America)
- lingonberry (Europe and North America)

BILBERRY or whortleberry often has a name translating in English as 
"blue berry". Among alternate names are blaeberry, whortle berry, 
hurts, whinberry, winberry, wimberry, myrtle blueberry, and fraughan. 
They grow in (alphabetically) Austria, England, Finland, Ireland, 
Norway, Poland, northern Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, the 
Carpathian Mountains in the Ukraine, and Wales. Bilberries include 
several closely related species:
-- V. myrtillus L. (bilberry)
-- V. uliginosum L. (bog bilberry, bog blueberry, bog whortleberry, 
bog huckleberry, northern bilberry)
-- V. caespitosum Michx. (dwarf bilberry)
-- V. deliciosum Piper (cascade bilberry)
-- V. membranaceum (mountain bilberry, black mountain huckleberry, 
black huckleberry, twin-leaved huckleberry)
-- V. ovalifolium (oval-leafed blueberry, oval-leafed bilberry, 
mountain blueberry, high-bush blueberry).

BLUEBERRY (V. Cyanococcus) is native to North America.

CRANBERRY - aka craneberry, mossberry, and fenberry - comprises 
primarily four species.
-- Two grow in North America, Europe, and Asia:
----- Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry (V. oxycoccos or 
Oxycoccos palustris) is widespread throughout northern Europe, 
northern Asia, and northern North America.
----- Small Cranberry (V. microcarpum or Oxycoccos microcarpus) is 
native to in northern Europe and northern Asia.
-- And two are purely native to North America:
----- Large cranberry, American Cranberry, or Bearberry (V. 
macrocarpon or Oxycoccos macrocarpus) is native to northeastern North 
America (eastern Canada, and eastern United States)
----- Southern Mountain Cranberry (V. erythrocarpum or Oxycoccos 
erythrocarpus) is native to southeastern North America at high 
altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains, as well as eastern 

HUCKLEBERRY - various North American species and two genera. The word 
is probably derived from Middle English "hurtilbery", which meant 
whortleberry (aka bilberry), accounting for the use of this word in 
-- Western huckleberries, genus Vaccinium, grow in the Pacific 
Northwest: Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, northern 
California, as well as in Alberta, Idaho, and Montana. There are 12 
species of huckleberry in Washington and Oregon alone(!) and it is 
the state fruit of Idaho. Regionally it is sometimes called blueberry 
(adding to the confusion).
-- Eastern huckleberries are of a different, but closely related, 
genus Gaylussacia, with about fifty species, native to the Americas. 
Common English names include huckleberry and dangleberry. Eight 
species grow in eastern North America including the southeastern 
United States, seven in South America in the Andes. And the remaining 
thirty-five live in the mountains of southeastern Brazil.

LINGONBERRY - aka cowberry, foxberry, mountain cranberry, csejka 
berry, red whortleberry, lowbush cranberry, mountain bilberry, 
partridgeberry, and redberry - grows in (alphabetically) Austria, 
eastern Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, 
Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, 
Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Ukraine.

So, to sum up, there are European cranberries; they're not identical 
to North American cranberries; i haven't seen any recipes for them, 
but they could be out there in norther European cookbooks.
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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