Crowberry Empetrum nigrum

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See May, June
Colour Purple
Habitat Wetland, Upland

A mat-forming shrub with tiny purple stalkless starry flowers that nestle between needle-like leaves.

The berries, which cluster around the stalk, are edible but eaten raw tend to be fairly tasteless and not that high in vitamins. As they grow, these start green, go pink, purple before finally turning black. They look somewhat similar to blueberries.

Habitat

Moors, bogs, wet mountain slopes. It grows in acidic soils in shady, moist areas.

Best time to see

Crowberry flowers in May and June. Berries are produced in the autumn and if not picked often persist into the winter.

Did you know?

Otherwise known as black crowberry or simply blackberry, crowberry has many local names including berry-girse, crane, crawberry, crawcrooks, crow ling, lingberry, monnocs-heather, deer's grass and she-heather.

In terms of uses, Empetrum nigrum can be grown for the edible fruit, as an ornamental plant in rock gardens (notably the yellow-foliaged cultivar 'Lucia') or as a ground cover. The fruit's high content of anthocyanin pigment make it useful as a natural food dye.