Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

Table of Contents (hide)

  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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"Tyttebær"
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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