PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

It’s hard to hear the word Lingonberry and not immediately think Ikea! Unless, like many, you’ve never heard of Lingonberries. For those people, we’ll start from scratch.
Lingonberries are in a large and very tasty genus of plants called Vacciniums. They include blueberry, cranberry, huckleberry, and bilberry. Lingonberries are basically a type of intensely flavored wild blueberry but with a cranberry-like tartness. With a little sweetener they make an astoundingly yummy jam.

Lingonberries grow wild throughout northern Europe. The Swedes are especially good at creating productive and flavorful cultivars in their agricultural universities. Lingonberries are a forest understory plant growing only to 6-12 inches tall and they spread into a colony carpeting the forest floor with small glossy evergreen leaves. Most varieties produce two crops of fruit – late fall to early winter, and again around early summer. The scrumptious fruits are 1/4 inch bright red berries in clusters. In the garden, they are the rare combination of evergreen, edible, and shade-lover.

Lingonberries are among the most nutritious berries in the world. Numerous studies have shown anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and other benefits addressing everything from heart disease, to cognitive function associated with aging. Here is a good read about them from the NIH – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8150318/