Cranberry Facts

Cranberry Facts
Cranberry is an evergreen woody plant that belongs to the heather family. It originates from northeastern parts of North America. Cranberry grows on the poor, acidic soils (such as sandy bogs and marshes) in areas with low temperatures during the summer. This plant was popular and highly prized among Native Americans, who used it as a source of food, medicine and dyes. When European settlers arrived to America, they instantly incorporated cranberries into their diet. Cranberries are cultivated around the world today because of their delicious fruit that acts beneficially on the humans' health.
Interesting Cranberry Facts:
Cranberry grows in the form of dwarf shrub or trailing vine. It can reach 7 feet in length and 2 to 8 inches in height.
Cranberry produces small, evergreen, oval-shaped leaves. They grow on the vine-like shoots.
Cranberry blooms from May to June. Individual flowers consist of pink petals oriented backwards and fully exposed pistils and stamens. Flowers last 10 to 12 days and attract bees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of cranberry is berry. Immature berries are white in color. Mature berries are red-colored. Cranberries are harvested usually during September and October.
Cranberry normally does not grow in the water (despite widespread belief). People flood it before the harvest to facilitate collection of the berries and to ensure protection of the plants from the upcoming low temperatures.
Cranberries are good source of dietary fibers, vitamin C and manganese.
Cranberries are rarely consumed raw. They are often used dried or in the form of sauces, jams, juices and various cocktails. These berries are also used in the production of cranberry wine.
Americans eat 400 million pounds of cranberries per year. Consumption of cranberries is greatest during the Thanksgiving week. Around 80 million tons of cranberries are consumed during that period.
Cranberries are also known as bearberries, because bears also like to consume them.
Cranberries were used as a source of red pigment for the coloring of cloth, rugs and blankets in the past.
Native Americans used poultices made of cranberries to eliminate poison from the wound inflicted with poison arrows.
Name cranberry is shorter version of the original name of the plant: "crane berry". Dutch and German settlers coined this name because of the light pink flowers whose petals twist backwards and together with stem create impression of head, neck and bill of a crane.
Cranberry was used as a source of vitamin C for the prevention of scurvy (disorder induced by vitamin C deficiency) on the American ships in the past.
Latest medical studies indicate that antioxidants found in cranberries can prevent development of Alzheimer's disease.
Cranberry is perennial plant, which means that it lives more than 2 years in the wild.

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts