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The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a perennial, evergreen plant that grows in acidic, sandy bogs and marshlands. Cranberries are one of the few native North America plants that are grown commercially. The fruit grows on densely interwoven vines, producing 150 to 200 berries per square foot.
Contrary to popular myth, cranberries are not grown under water. The berries contain four air pockets, and when the submerged plants are agitated using a water wheel device—often called an “egg-beater”—the ripe cranberries float to the surface to be corralled into the iconic red ponds often associated with the cranberry harvest (pictured here). Rest assured: great care is now taken by cranberry farmers to conserve the water resources of their cranberry bogs. Happy Thanksgiving!
Shawn Steffan, PhD, Research Entomologist, US Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Madison, WI and Dept. Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI