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Common Name: Purple Crowberry
Empetrum atropurpureum is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Eastern N. America - Labrador to Quebec, south to Michigan.
Granitic or acidic gravel and sands on mountains[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
A calcifuge plant, it is easily grown in a lime-free soil[
]. Prefers a moist sandy peaty soil and some shade[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The flavour is watery with a slightly medicinal flavour that is improved by freezing[
]. The fruit is usually mixed with sugar and acid fruits such as cranberries and then cooked[
]. They are a good currant substitute in puddings[
Succeeds as a ground cover plant in exposed positions[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be very slow to germinate, stored seed requires 5 months warm then 3 months cold stratification at 5°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 3cm with a heel, mid summer in a frame. Takes 3 weeks. Good percentage[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, 3cm with a heel, early autumn in a frame. Requires shade. Good percentage[