Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

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  1.   1.  Description
    1.   1.1  Growth
    2.   1.2  Obtainment
  2.   2.  Uses
    1.   2.1  Medicinal
  3.   3.  More
  4.   4.  'Souls
Common Name Lingonberry, cowberry
Latin Name Vaccinium vitis-idaea
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by Philip Gabrielsen
via Wikimedia Commons
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1.  Description

Vaccinium vitis-idaea spreads by underground stems to form dense clonal colonies. Slender and brittle roots grow from the underground stems. The stems are rounded in cross-section and grow from 10 to 40 cm (4 to 16 in) in height. Leaves grow alternately and are oval, 5–30 mm (0.2–1.2 in) long, with a slightly wavy margin, and sometimes with a notched tip. The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pale pink, 3–8 mm (0.1–0.3 in) long, and produced in the early summer. The fruit is a red berry 6–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) across, with an acidic taste, ripening in late summer to autumn.

Vaccinium vitis-idaea keeps its leaves all winter even in the coldest years, unusual for a broad-leaved plant, though in its natural habitat it is usually protected from severe cold by snow cover.

1.1  Growth

This plant grows best in boreal forests.

1.2  Obtainment

Common -- native.

2.  Uses

  • Dye:
    • Leaves and stems = yellow
    • Fruit = purple
  • Edible: Sour, slightly sweet, slightly bitter fruit

2.1  Medicinal

In folk medicine, V. vitis-idaea has been used as an apéritif, astringent, antihemorrhagic, anti-debilitive, depurative, disinfectant/antiseptic (especially for the urethra), a diuretic, a tonic for the nervous system, and in various ways to treat breast cancer, diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, and various urogenital conditions.

  • The berries can be preserved by putting them whole into bottles of water. This was also a home remedy against scurvy. In Russian folk medicine, lingonberry water was used as a mild laxative.

3.  More

4.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?

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