Cowberry

Latin name: Vaccinium vitis-idaea

Family: Ericaceae (Heather family)

With its scarlet edible red fruits, the cowberry is a relative of the bilberry and the cranberry.

This evergreen dwarf-shrub is sometimes known as ‘whortleberry’ and grows on moors and in open peaty woods. It has larger leaves than either the bilberry or cranberry and bell-shaped, pinkish-white flowers which appear between June and August. These go on to develop into the distinctive red berries.

Cowberry is abundant in particular areas of Britain on suitable habitats from south Wales and central England into the north.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the species is not common as it has difficulty competing with heather and bilberry. However, it can be found on the acidic high ground in moorland habitats.

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There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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