poetry and prose about place

Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum Marsh.)

with 4 comments

Like miniature fireworks, bright bunches of the berries of Highbush Cranberry  (Viburnum trilobum Marsh.) burst along our roadsides in late summer.  Highbush Cranberry is also called Cranberry, Pimbina, and in Quebec,  quatres-saisons des bois.

The Highbush Cranberry is a large deciduous shrub, found in cool woods, thickets, shores and slopes.  It has grey bark and dense reddish-brown twigs.  The large lobed leaves are very similar to red maple.

In spring and summer, the white flowers bloom in a cyme or corymb (a flat-topped or convex open flower-cluster).  Most flowers in the cluster are small, but the outermost flowers are large and showy, making the plant attractive for insect pollinators.

The fruit is a drupe, ellipsoid and brightly colored red or orange.  The juicy, acidic fruit has a very similar flavour to cranberry (Vaccinium spp. L.) and is used for jams and jellies.  The preserves are rich in Vitamin C.



fireworks, quatres-saisons

            (Viburnum trilobum Marsh.)



against a drawing paper sky

some liberated hand

has sketched fireworks


remember precursors in spring?

blowsy cymes, white sputter

of a Catherine wheel


now these berries, ready to pick

bold, spherical outburst

of vermillion sparks


a pyrotechnic flash of red

strontium detonates

in receptive dark


a four-season celebration

spring confetti, berries,

fireworks in fall


cranberry preserves – acidic,

tart blaze of summer sky

winter ignition



© Jane Tims  2012

© Jane Tims  2012

4 Responses

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  1. “Wow” to both poem and drawing.


    Jane Fritz

    September 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

  2. I think I’ve seen these berries before – I’m glad to know they’re edible – your photo’s so clear and it’s so good you included the leaves for identification.



    September 20, 2012 at 1:44 am

  3. I love this whole post. When I was growing up, we had tall highbush cranberries that grew as a protective hedge between the house and the roadway in front. Each year we picked the berries and my grandmother made jelly. One of the delights of my childhood. Thanks for this post. Terrific photos.


    Carol Steel

    September 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  4. How wonderful! Great pictures, poem and drawing. Silly question, perhaps, but does the Highbush Cranberry have the same medicinal properties that ‘ordinary’ cranberry has? I mean cranberries’ supposed benefit for keeping a healthy bladder and urethra?



    September 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

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