Ontario Trees & Shrubs website

Small Cranberry
Vaccinium oxycoccos

Other common names: European Cranberry

Other scientific names: Oxycoccus hagerupii, Oxycoccus oxycoccus, Oxycoccus quadripetalus, Vaccinium microcarpum

Family: Heath Family (Ericaceae)

Group: Cranberries

Distinctive features: Sub-Shrub; Flowers and berries are in clusters at the ends of the branches. Fruit smaller.

Similar species:
  •   Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) - larger overall: berries are bigger, leaves are larger.

  •   Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) - similar in name only. A large shrub.

Flowers: Summer;  Red/Pink;  4 parts (petals)

Leaves: Alternate, Simple, Entire

Height: Up to 15 cm (6 in);  A very small, low-growing sub-shrub.

Habitat: Wet Areas

Edible: The berries are edible, although best if cooked first.

Books: Shrubs of Ontario: 409    Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 128   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Common in bogs.

Notes: Cranberry are actually tiny shrubs, although most people probably wouldn't think of them as such. They grow in bogs.
The main way to tell Large Cranberry and Small Cranberry apart is by the size of the berries.

For more information visit: Ontario Wildflowers

Photographs: 218 photographs available, of which 3 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos)

The leaves of Small Cranberry are really small! Note the whitish undersides and the rolled-under leaf edges.

Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos)

A close-up picture of the leaves. The whitish undersides are readily visible here.

Small Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos)

A bunch of Small Cranberry plants in a bog, growing out of a carpet of moss.