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Empetrum nigrum

Empetrum nigrum L.

 

Black Crowberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyEmpetraceaeHeath or heather family, also includes cranberry, blueberry, huckleberry, azalea, rhododendron
GenusEmpetrumGreek en, “in,” and petros, “rock,” for its rocky habitat
SpeciesnigrumLatin niger, “black,” for the color of the berries

About plant names...

Black crowberry is native to northern portions of the northern hemisphere, and to the Falkland Islands. Grouse, ptarmigan and red-backed voles favor the high energy berries, along with reindeer, caribou, and bears.

Identification: Black crowberry is a ground-hugging, dense, somewhat mosslike plant rarely more than 6" (15 cm) in height. It favors acid soils such as those in open pine forests. Needlelike leaves, each ⅛-¼" (3-8 mm) long, appear on long shoots. In cross section, needles are deeply grooved, with their edges rolled under. Flowers are inconspicuous, purplish brown, with one or both sexes appearing on a given plant. Fruits are juicy black berries ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm) around, each containing 6-9 white seeds.

Edibility: Although technically edible to humans, black crowberries are not very digestible, watery, and lacking in taste. They are sometimes used, in conjunction with other berries, in pies and jellies.

Online References:

Empetrum nigrum at Skye Flora

Empetrum nigrum on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Empetrum nigrum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Empetrum nigrum on BorealForest.org

Empetrum nigrum on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Empetrum nigrum on the USDA Plants Database

Empetrum nigrum from the Jepson Manual

Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/25/2004 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Empetrum nigrum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/16/2016 · Sieur de Monts Botanical Gardens, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/18/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.3 × 6.2 cm)

Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/20/2009 · Wild Gardens of Acadia, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 17 × 12" (44 × 29 cm)

Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/19/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 9 × 6" (22 × 14 cm)

Empetrum nigrum (Black Crowberry)

9/18/2009 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME
≈ 3½ × 2½" (9.3 × 6.2 cm)

Range:

About this map...