Crowberry | Empetrum nigrum
Crowberry | Empetrum nigrum

At this time of year the berries in the sub-alpine are prolific. Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) is one that is often overlooked or assumed by many non-botanists to be a blueberry. It is a low-creeping plant with needle-like leaves that somewhat resembles heather and produces berries that are a dark blackish/blue in colour.

A quick consultation of Plants of Coastal BC (Pojar & Mackinnon) reveals that though the berry is edible its taste is considered unpleasant to some. Many First Nations groups and the Inuit used crowberry, usually mixing and cooking it with other berries to enhance the flavour.

With all wild edibles it is important to know exactly what you’re eating before you eat it. A friend of mine once said, “Everything is edible – once.” Words to live by.

Crowberry on Foodista