Also known in Northern Europe as Lingonberry, and Red Whortleberry, this plant with its edible berries is common on moors and woodland in the Southern uplands and Highlands of Scotland. It prefers an acid soil and can also be found scattered on the islands.
Cowberry is an evergrow on short racemes at the top of the stems. These are bell-shaped, 5 – 8mm long, with 4 petals fused halfway down and curving out at the tips. A long pale green style protrudes from the bells, and 4 to 8 orangey-red stamens hide inside.
The fruit is a shiny red berry, which is juicy, sweet and slightly acidic. It has been gathered in the wild for centuries and used to make jam, or as an accompaniment to meat dishes. Green low-growing shrub with woody stems, some branching. Stems are erect and hairy.
The leaves resemble the Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), with their glossy glabrous ovals, but are broader in the middle with dark glands dotting the lighter green undersides of the leaves. They grow on short stalks alternately up the stems.