Empetrum nigrum L.
Black crowberry is native to northern portions of the northern hemisphere, and to the Falkland Islands. Grouse, ptarmigan and red-backed voles favor the high energy berries, along with reindeer, caribou, and bears.
Identification: Black crowberry is a ground-hugging, dense, somewhat mosslike plant rarely more than 6" (15 cm) in height. It favors acid soils such as those in open pine forests. Needlelike leaves, each ⅛-¼" (3-8 mm) long, appear on long shoots. In cross section, needles are deeply grooved, with their edges rolled under. Flowers are inconspicuous, purplish brown, with one or both sexes appearing on a given plant. Fruits are juicy black berries ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm) around, each containing 6-9 white seeds.
Edibility: Although technically edible to humans, black crowberries are not very digestible, watery, and lacking in taste. They are sometimes used, in conjunction with other berries, in pies and jellies.
Empetrum nigrum at Skye Flora
Empetrum nigrum on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Empetrum nigrum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Empetrum nigrum on BorealForest.org
Empetrum nigrum on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database
Empetrum nigrum on the USDA Plants Database
Empetrum nigrum from the Jepson Manual
Empetrum nigrum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.