Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

American Cranberrybush (High Bush Cranberry) (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) (Synonym:Viburnum trilobum): Images

Date Location Notes Images
May 30, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire In New Hampshire, there are only a small number of Viburnums with lobed leaves:
  • American Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum)
  • European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. opulus)
  • Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)
  • Squashberry (Viburnum edule)
One of the most obvious differences is that Mapleleaf Viburnum and Squashberry do not have the large, showy sterile flowers. They only have the smaller white flowers. Also, Mapleleaf Viburnum does not have swollen glands on the leaf petioles. The margins of Squashberry leaves have many teeth compared to the few teeth on the leaf margins of Cranberrybush.

The Peterson Field Guide for Edible Plants says, ‘A European ornamental occasionally escaped from cultivation, V. opulus [Viburnum opulus var. opulus], is almost a double for Highbush-cranberry, but with bitter fruit.” For this reason, it is important to tell the two apart.

The following web page shows how to tell the two apart (using a table and two links for pictures): http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/vitr.htm. The American Cranberrybush has a wide and shallow groove on the leaf petiole, small glands on the petiole and hairs only the leaf veins of the underside of the leaf. The European Cranberrybush has a thin groove on the leaf petiole, larger, disk-shaped glands on the petiole and hairs on the underside of the leaf in addition to the leaf vein hairs.
Date Location Notes Images
May 14, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire Some of the bushes in this spot are the European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. opulus), but this one is the American Cranberrybush.