Highbush Cranberry - <em>Viburnum trilobum</em> - Zone 3 -

Highbush Cranberry - Viburnum trilobum - Zone 3

Highbush cranberry is a medium size deciduous shrub in the same family as elderberry that produces clusters of small red edible berries similar in appearance and taste to cranberries. They are excellent ornamental plants with year round appeal.

1-3 Feetsold-out$15.00$0.00

The Plant

Highbush cranberries are native across Canada and the northern United States. These shrubs develop a dense rounded form and can reach heights of 4.5 metres with pretty similar spreads. They grow at a moderate rate, about 3 feet per year. They have grey to light brown bark that is smooth when young and becomes scaly with age. The leaves are dark green with a three lobed form somewhat similar to maples and turn yellow to purplish-red in fall. Flowers appear in June and are born profusely. They are in the form of large clusters with small yellow flowers in the center surrounded by larger white blooms. The fruit are small red berries about 9 mm in diameter, born in pendulous clusters and containing a single flat seed. They ripen initially in September but persist all through the winter on the plant and have a unique flavour that improves the longer they are left before harvesting. Highbush cranberries are versatile plants that thrive in a wide variety of conditions. They will do well in almost any soil and both full sun or partial shade but will do the best in moist well-drained locations and will provide maximum yields in full sun.

Its Uses

Highbush cranberries are great landscaping plants. The flowers are very attractive, the leaves provide attractive fall colour and the fruit provide colour relief throughout the winter. They make great privacy hedges due to their dense growth and attract plenty of birds as a source of both food and protection. The fruit are edible raw but tend to be quite astringent, this diminishes though if they are left on the plant as the freezing and thawing during winter makes them softer and sweeter. They are best used for making jams, preserves or sauces and can also be a useful cooking ingredient. They are extremely healthy, being an excellent source of vitamin C and extremely high levels of antioxidants. The bark of these shrubs has been used medicinally to relieve cramps, giving rise to another of its common names, cramp bark. The berries have historically also been used to make dyes and ink.

Height at maturity4.5 metres (15 feet)
Spacing2 metres (6 feet)
Hardiness zone3
SoilAdaptable / prefers moist but not wet soil
Sun / shadeFull sun / Partial shade
HarvestAugust through February
Average fruit weight
Fruit colorRed
Years to bear fruit4
Latin nameViburnum trilobum
Average diameter of fruit9 mm
Also known asAmerican Cranberrybush, Cramp Bark