For the unadventurous, cranberries may only exist in their canned form as a gelatinous gooey condiment destined to moisten dry turkeys. For the rest of us, cranberry season is looked forward to and celebrated from fall into winter. Yet, even cranberry devotees may not know much about this little berry, including different cranberry varieties because, yes indeed, there are several varieties of cranberry.
About Cranberry Plant Types
The cranberry plant type native to North America is called Vaccinium macrocarpon. A different type of cranberry, Vaccinium oxycoccus, is native to countries in Europe. V. oxycoccus is a smaller speckled fruit, a tetraploid type of cranberry – which means that this kind of cranberry has twice as many chromosome sets as other kinds of cranberry, resulting in larger plants and flowers.
C. oxycoccus will not hybridize with the diploid V. macrocarpon, thus research has been focused only on using the latter.
Different Varieties of Cranberry
There are more than 100 different cranberry plant types or cultivars that grow in North America and new cultivar’s DNA is generally patented. New, faster growing cultivars from Rutgers ripen earlier and with better color, and, they have higher sugar contents than traditional cranberry varieties. Some of these varieties include:
- Crimson Queen
- Mullica Queen
Other varieties of cranberry available from the Grygleski family include:
- Pilgrim King
- Valley King
- Midnight Eight
- Crimson King
- Granite Red
In some regions of the United States, older cultivars of cranberry plants are still thriving over 100 years later.