Family, Heath. Color, white, with pink tinge. Leaves, small, scale-like, thin, with turned-back margins. Calyx and corolla, 4-cleft. Stamens, 8. Berry, 4-celled. Flowers, nodding. Fruit, a small acid berry, not so desirable for the table as the larger species. Stems, wiry, trailing, from 6 to 9 inches long.
V. macrocarpon is the one cultivated in large sections of bog land, and prized as an accompaniment to the Thanksgiving turkey. The stems grow prostrate, often 4 to 5 feet in length. Flowers are large, with corolla turned back.
The name cranberry is said to be a shortening of crane-berry, referring to the curve of the branches, which are conceived to be like the crooked neck of a crane. A cranberry-bog is flooded with water in the fall and early spring. In
May the water is drained off. The picking commences in September, before heavy frost, and men, women, and children are employed, and paid by the crate or bushel. Buildings are erected near the bogs, in which the fruit is separated from leaves and twigs. The geographical range of the cranberry is very wide, from north latitude 380 to 6o°, and covering all North America east of the Mississippi. (See illustration, p. 279.)
American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)