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.

European Cranberrybush (High Bush Cranberry) (Viburnum opulus var. opulus) (Synonym:Viburnum roseum): Images

Date Location Notes Images
August 24, 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): The American Cranberrybush (var. americanum) 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 (var. opulus) has a thin groove on the leaf petiole, larger, disk-shaped glands on the petiole and often has hairs on the underside of the leaf in addition to the leaf vein hairs.

The book, Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada points out that the glands on the petiole of American Cranberrybush (var. americanum) are stalked, round-topped and mostly higher than wide. The glands of the petiole of European Cranberrybush (var. opulus) are mostly sessile, concave-topped and wider than high. Based on the third set of images from the top where the one on the left is this plant and the one on the right is American Cranberrybush (taken on May 30, 2011), this plant is clearly European Cranberrybush (var. opulus).
Date Location Notes Images
May 3, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire
Date Location Notes Images
May 11, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire Petiole has thin notch and glands that are sessile and wider than tall.