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American Cranberry Bush
Scientific Name: Viburnum trilobum
Bartram's nursery in Philadelphia listed the American cranberry bush for sale in 1783.1 In 1791,Thomas Jefferson ordered "bush cranberries. All you have" from the William Prince Nursery on Long Island, New York.2
The cranberry bush is native from New Brunswick and British Columbia to New York, Michigan, South Dakota, and Oregon. Once listed also as V. americanum, it is similar to the European cranberry bush in form. V. trilobum is a hardy, deciduous, spring-flowering North American shrub that bears flattened, lace-cap like clusters of white flowers surrounded by flat, white sterile florets with lustrous, dark green leaves that turn yellow to red in fall. The red fruits, which persist through the winter, can be used in preserves.
- Text from Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet
- Coats, Alice M. Garden Shrubs and their Histories. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
- Dutton, Joan Parry. Plants of Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg, 1979.
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst, Mass.: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants
- 1. Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 132.
- 2. Jefferson to William Prince, July 6, 1791, in PTJ, 20:603.