Plant Data Sheet


Vaccinium oxycoccus
(bog cranberry, small cranberry, wild cranberry, swamp cranberry)





This species can be found from Alaska east to Labrador, Greenland, and Newfoundland. It can also south through New England, the northern portions of the Great Lakes States, and western Washington and Oregon.


Climate, elevation

Found in cool temperate climates. It is found in coniferous swamps.


Local occurrence (where, how common)

May be found in a bog garden, woodland, sunny edge, dappled shade, or as a ground cover.


Habitat preferences

It thrives in moist coastal and boreal forests, and requires a moist or wet soil. The soil is usually very poorly drained. In the boggy areas the soil ph is very acidic, 2.9-4.7. Where as in the fen areas the soil ph is more alkaline, 6.0-7.5.


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

It can be an early colonizer of secondary succession. Fire is a very important aspect. It is the first to colonize a burned bog area. The abundance increases with frequent fires. This species is shade intolerant, so mostly is related to having a coniferous overstory establish.


Associated species

Tsuga canadensis, Tsuga heterophylla, Thuja occidentalis, Thuja plicata, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, Chamaecyparis thyoides, Populus tremuloides, Populus balsamifera, Betula pumila, Betula glandulosa, Betula papyrifera, Betula alleghaniensis, Fraxinus nigra, Chamaedaphne calyculata, Andromeda glaucophylla, Kalmia polifolia, Sarracenia purpurea, Ledum groenlandicum, Rubus chamaemorus, Rhododendron canadense, Rhamnus frangula, Drosera spp., Eriophorum virginatum, Eriophorum angustifolium, Carex spp., Cladina spp., and Cladonia spp.


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seeds, cuttings, layering, or the division of suckers may be collected.


Collection restrictions or guidelines

Fruits ripen from August to October, and may persist through the winter.


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

Cold stratification is necessary to break dormancy. The suggested period of cold stratification is 2-3 months. Then store seeds at 32 degrees F for 6-7 months, allowing germination to take place at 77 degrees F.

Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

No information found


Recommended seed storage conditions

No information found


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Vegetative propagation is recommended.


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

If seeds are sown, it is recommended to have a lime-free soil mix. Mature plants like highly acidic soil, pH 2.9 - 4.7.


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

Seeds are the cheapest, but are very rare. Vegetative cuttings are common but are slow and difficult. Layering can take up to 18 months. Division of suckers is the easiest and best chance of success.


Recommended planting density

If planted as a ground cover, it is recommended to plant 1 meter apart; it will form a thick carpet when they are thriving.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

The like very soggy, wet conditions, so water until established continuing to keep a boggy type soil.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Very fast establisher. It regenerates quickly from sprouts of the rhizomes. 0.1 1 meter in full height.

Sources cited






Data compiled by: Kevin Klein, 26 May 2003.