Vaccinium Species, Cowberry, Foxberry, Lingonberry, Northern Mountain Cranberry

Vaccinium vitis-idaea var. minus

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vaccinium (vak-SIN-ee-um) (Info)
Species: vitis-idaea var. minus
Synonym:Vaccinium minus
Synonym:Vaccinium vitis-idaea var. minus


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska

Evansville, Indiana

Corinna, Maine

Minneapolis, Minnesota

North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 14, 2015, truh from North Kingstown, RI (Zone 6b) wrote:

I planted several lingonberry plants and one has survived. I finally wised up to the fact that they apparently do not like to be watered. The remaining plant thrives now that I've stopped watering it. I grow it in a very large container. I'm in zone 6.

It sets fruit in late fall. Not a lot of fruit. I would need several dozen of these plants to get enough fruit for a jar of jam. But it's an attractive little plant.


On Sep 1, 2012, Erutuon from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I bought this last year (2011) from Betty Ann Addison of Gardens of Rice Creek. I already had a cultivar of the European variety, which was doing well, but I was eager to get the American variety when I saw that it was significantly different. The American variety is much shorter, has differently shaped leaves (wider, perhaps?) and to my eyes looks much cuter. It, unlike the European variety, seems to have branched stems. I haven't yet gotten any fruit from either.


On Oct 1, 2006, Grasmussen from Anchorage, AK (Zone 4a) wrote:

There are two recognised subspecies of Vaccinium vitis-idaea. This subspecies minus, occurs in the New World. Its range extends from Alaska across the Canadian Arctic and south into New England and the Great Lakes. It is common throughout most of Alaska where the berries are collected for food. The berries have a taste and texture very similar to cranberries, but they are smaller. In Alaskan the plants are prostrate, growing or trailing along the grown. They are considered to be intermediate between blueberries and cranberries.


On Jan 17, 2005, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a very common plant of the Newfoundland barrens. While the European species recahes 6-12" tall, the variety 'minus' is usually under 3". The berries are a local delicacy, made into jams, compotes and used in muffins. We call them 'partridgeberry', not to be confused with Mitchella repens, which is also called partridgeberry, but is not edible. We essentially use them as a substitute for cranberries. The shiny evergreen foliage, pretty pink flowers and bright red fruit make them a suitable candidate for a rock garden setting.