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Gooseberry plants


The small cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccus Linn., is the "Old world" kind. It is a slender, creeping plant, with short filiform stems four inches to one foot long; leaves ovate, acute, or acuminate, 1/4 inch long, with revolute margins; pedicels 1 to 4, terminal; corolla deeply 4­parted, the lobes reflexed; anthers exserted, with very long terminal tubes; berry red, globose, 1/4 to 1-3 inch in diameter, 4-loculed. It is indigenous to sphagnum swamps in subarctic and Alpine regions of both Europe and America. In the United States it is reported from New England, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest.

The large or American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait., is a plant of low creeping habit, stems slender, elongated 1 to 4 feet, the flowering branches ascending; leaves oblong or oval, obtuse or retuse 1-3 to 1/2 inch long, whitened beneath; pedicels, several, axillary and lateral; berry, red or reddish globose or pyriform, 1-3 to 1 inch long. The fruit of the cranberry is borne on short upright shoots of the previous season's growth. The flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves, one to three or four in a place, which gives the fruit the appearance of being distributed along the stem, a fact which is taken advantage of in harvesting. The mechanical devices used for this purpose are constructed so as to take advantage of this peculiarity.

Structurally, both species of the cranberry are closely allied to the so-called huckleberries. Botanically, they are classed merely as distinct species, all the blueberries, huckleberries, and cranberries being grouped in the one family (Ericeae). Of this group, many of which produce delicious dessert and culinary fruits, the cranberry is the only one which has been improved and extensively cultivated. It is also worthy of note as being one of the native fruits of America which has become an important commercial product and has won for itself a worldwide reputation.

Raising cranberries, like raising all other small fruit, is a very intensified industry, that is one requiring a large expenditure of capital and labor on a small area of ground. It is, therefore, of the
utmost importance that the location be carefully made in order that the grower may have as nearly perfect control over these conditions possible. The conditions essential for successful cranberry growing are, first, a proper soil; second, a sufficient supply of suitable water; third, adequate drainage; fourth, suitable topography for handling water.

Most of the important commercial cranberry areas of the United States are situated in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, with some fields in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and West Virginia. A point brought out in the distribution of the plant is its limitation by climatic conditions. While it occurs as far south as Tennessee and North Carolina along the Allegheny Mountains, the high altitude has provided conditions under which a congenial environment for the plant has been maintained with a consequent preservation of the species in these now isolated areas.