The lingonberry

(Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

The lingonberry plant has stems between 5 and 30 centimetres long that grow erect or ascending. The leaves are pointed and green, with a light green underside. Unlike some plants that lose leaves in the autumn, the lingonberry plant keeps its glaucous leaves and they even survive the winter. The lingonberry plant blooms in June and then loses its flowers at the end of the month, but in Northern Finland, the flowers might drop off in the beginning of July.

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The flowers have enclosing petals 5 to 8 mm long that are white or a reddish hue. An inflorescence is found at the tip of the stem in a tight raceme. Its main pollinators are bumblebees and mining bees. It has round, red and juicy berries that are slightly acidic. The berries are ready to be picked between the end of August and the beginning of October.

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Where to find them

Lingonberries grow all throughout Finland. It is the most common shrub in Finnish forests, a berry plant that produces its fruit the most. It typically grows in dry, semi-dry and mesic boreal forests. Lingonberry plants can also be found in boreal swamplands, broadleaf woodlands, coniferous swamplands, cliffs, tundra heaths and the edge of a field.

Yield

The lingonberry makes up the largest yield of wild berries in Finland. It has been calculated that the average yield is 257 million kilograms. The chance of a lingonberry yield is usually greater than that of a blueberry yield because the lingonberry plant blooms a couple of weeks later when the weather is more stable and there are more insects pollinating them. The lingonberry flora that will garner the most yields are usually in open spaces that do not have trees overshadowing them. The best berry spots produce a yield of 100 and 500 kilograms per hectare.

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