West Highland Flora

Cowberry


Vaccinium vitis-idaea

 

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Photo Carl Farmer
(13 Jul 2002 Geilo, Norway)

Found here and there on moorland, including high ground above the heather line, but can be at low elevations.

Flower c 5-7 mm long (petals from base to tip), fruit c 8-10 mm, leaves 1-3 cm long.

ID: Leaves leathery, glossy, dark green, hairless, margins turned down, paler but not whitish or bluish beneath.  Even without flowers and fruit these characters (if leaves look like these pics) distinguish it from any other member of the heather family or any other moorland or mountain shrub.

Other features: Evergreen creeping shrub.  Leaves have gland-dots on underside and are often slightly notched at tip.  Leaves may appear toothed or not owing to inrolled margins.  Flowers and fruit in groups of about 4-6 in drooping clusters at the ends of the stems.  Stems round in cross-section, not angled like those of Bilberry.

Hybridises with Bilberry to give plants with slightly ridged stems and flowers mostly in groups of 2-3 in the leaf-axils.

 

  Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Photo Carl Farmer
(9 Jul 2002 Nesbyen, Norway)
 

 
  The spherical red berries  
 
 
 
  Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Photo Carl Farmer
22 Aug 2002 Glamaig
 

 
  Growing among mountain scree  
     

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