Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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crowberry the fruit of Empetrum nigrum, a plant which grows in the far north of Europe, Asia, and America. It is a low creeping bush with needle-like leaves, somewhat like a prostrate yew. Its berries lack flavour, but are edible. They are small, round, shiny, and black, with half a dozen pips or so, and a firm pulp.

The crowberry grows as far south as Scotland, where it has occasionally been used for food, but prefers the regions above 60 degrees N. In most languages there is a separate name for the variety which is found in the more northerly parts of its range and at higher altitudes. Crowberries are abundant in Greenland.