Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Botanizing in Alaska: Crowberry

This little plant was growing all over the place along the tree-line at one mountain we drove up. It grows as a low-creeper, through and over the mosses and other low-growing plants in its habitat.

The few green berries I saw will eventually ripen to a shiny black which lends them their name of Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum). Though some books I've read indicate the berry is barely edible, much of the information available online suggests the berries are a prime edible. I suspect personal differences in taste may explain the differences in reporting about the berry, though I wonder if some cultural baggage (the-biologist-is-in.blogspot.com/2014/12/black-nightshade.html) may also be involved. I'll have to arrange for one of my next trips to central Alaska to be during berry season so I can find out (at least for my tastes).