Thousands of red cranberries floating on the surface of water
Vaccinium macrocarpon


Family: Ericaceae
Other common names: 蔓越莓 (Chinese, simplified), 蔓越莓 (Chinese, traditional), klikva velkoplodá (Czech), cranberry (Dutch), grote veenbes (Dutch), American cranberry (English), large cranberry (English), wild cranberry (English), suur jõhvikas (Estonian), suureviljaline jõhvikas (Estonian), großfrüchtige moosbeere (German), su'n (Mi'kmaq), mashkiigiminagaawanzh (Ojibwe), arándano rojo americano (Spanish), amerikanskt tranbär (Swedish)
IUCN Red List status: Least Concern

Cranberries are commonly associated with Christmas.

The perfect accompaniment to a roast turkey; their bright red berries are best enjoyed in sauces and preserves.

Cranberry is a North American species that is widely grown in North America and Central Europe for its edible fruits.

A low-growing, trailing shrub with greenish leaves and short upright branches that bear white to pink flowers, followed by red to pink berries.

Read the scientific profile on cranberry

Food and drink

Cranberry fruit are rarely eaten raw due to their bitter taste but are used in preserves and sauces. The berries are commonly served in a sauce alongside a roast turkey at Christmas.


There is some evidence to suggest cranberry fruits or their juice can be used to treat certain urinary tract infections but more research is required to support this.

  • In a method known as wet harvesting, bogs where cranberry plants are growing are flooded so the ripe, bright red berries float to the surface of the water, where they are collected. These flooded cranberry bogs make for a stunning visual spectacle during harvest season.

  • The cranberry is in the genus Vaccinium, which also includes the blueberry, the lingonberry and the huckleberry

Map of the world showing where cranberry is native and introduced
Native: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Québec, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Introduced: Belgium, British Columbia, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Oregon, Switzerland, Washington

Wetlands including bogs, fens, marshes, swamps, and wet shores

Kew Gardens

A botanic garden in southwest London with the world’s most diverse living plant collection.


Near Kew Palace

View map of Kew Gardens
Best time to see
Fruits: Sep, Oct, Nov

Other plants

Read & watch

The geographical areas mentioned on this page follow the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (WGSRPD) developed by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).