From time immemorial, lingonberries have been valued by people for their taste and medicinal properties, which are endowed not only with the fruits of this beautiful plant, but also with the leaves. Huge areas of forest-steppe zones and taiga are occupied by useful shrubs. Its name comes from the word "beam", meaning "red".
In the description of the common lingonberry, it is noted that it is an evergreen shrub and belongs to the Heather family. Cowberry is quite short, its height rarely exceeds 25-30 cm. The root system is horizontal and creeping.
The leaves of the plant are leathery, matte, located on short petioles. Their length varies from 1 to 3 cm. The upper part of the leaves is dark green, the lower part is lighter with brown dots.
Shrub flowers are rather small, bell-shaped, collected in apical brushes. Like the leaves, they are located on short petioles. Painted in a delicate white-pink color, have a pleasant aroma. Cowberries bloom in late spring for about two weeks.
In the description of lingonberriesit is indicated that the bright red fruits of the plant have a regular spherical shape and a characteristic bitter taste. The diameter reaches 8 mm. Picking ripe berries can be done in September or early October.
Useful properties of berries
Shrub berries have a whole list of useful and medicinal properties, which explains their high popularity. Lingonberries are included in the register of medicinal plants. In its chemical composition, you can find a huge number of vitamins, mineral components, pectins and tannins that have a positive effect on the human body.
The fruits of the shrub have a general strengthening effect, and will also be very useful for beriberi. Use them for constipation and problems with the gallbladder. Juice made on the basis of lingonberry berries is especially useful for people with poor eyesight and anemia. Its use helps to cope with dangerous bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
The berries of the plant in combination with drug treatment have a positive effect on patients suffering from the following ailments:
- high blood pressure;
- diabetes mellitus;
- oncological diseases;
- increased intracranial pressure and headaches.
In addition, lingonberry berries have a positive effect on the condition of women during menopause. Their use helps to reduce the frequency of sweating attacks andavoid venous congestion.
Useful properties of leaves
In the description of lingonberries, the beneficial properties of not only berries, but also the leaves of the plant are noted. They also contain vitamins, some mineral and tannins, organic acids.
Preparations and products made on the basis of the leaves of this shrub are used to enhance the effectiveness of antibiotics, stimulate the immune system. The diuretic effect that they are endowed with allows you to use the properties of the plant in the fight against ailments such as urethritis, cystitis, kidney stones.
Hot lingonberry leaf tea has an antipyretic effect. And decoctions and infusions based on them will help with inflammation of the genitourinary system. For cosmetic purposes, the plant is used for hair loss and dandruff.
The description of the lingonberry plant says that it is well suited for growing in garden plots. At the same time, its productivity increases many times. From one hundred square meters occupied by shrubs, you can get about 50 kg of fruit annually.
The plant is unpretentious and does not need special care. However, in the wild, its habitat is taiga and swampy areas, which implies the need for light sandy or peaty soil with high acidity.
In the description of lingonberries, it is noted that the bush needs good illumination of the site, moderate moisture and soil acidity within 3, 0-5, 0pH. Groundwater should be no closer than 60-80 cm. The required care involves the timely loosening of the soil, the destruction of weeds and watering during dry periods.
Shrubs are propagated by daughter plants, cuttings and seeds. Young lingonberries are planted in early May, keeping a distance of about 30 cm between seedlings. A young plant begins to harvest from the age of 3.
Harvesting and leaf harvesting
Cowberry harvesting starts in dry weather from the end of July until the onset of frost. Experienced gardeners advise not to rush to harvest, as the usefulness of the fruits directly depends on their degree of maturity. Berries can be frozen, dried, or used to make jams and fruit drinks.
There are two suitable periods for harvesting leaves: early spring, before flowering, or October, when the berries are already fully ripe. Raw materials harvested in summer tend to blacken when dried.
Plucking the leaves is recommended to be carried out carefully, without cutting off the shoots, which can injure the plant. After this procedure, lingonberries need about 5 years to recover before plucking can be repeated.
Plipped leaves should be sorted out, excluding damaged or blackened. In a warm, darkened place, it is necessary to lay a fabric on which the collected raw materials are laid out in a thin layer. If possible, you can use a dryer, but the temperature when drying the leaves should not exceed 40 ° C. Finished raw materials are suitable foruse for 3 years.
The plant has a wide variety of varieties, each of which has its own advantages. The most popular are several garden varieties of lingonberries, the description of which is given below.
Late-ripening variety. The height of the shrub varies between 15-30 cm. The small, smooth leaves of the plant are elliptical in shape and painted dark green. The inflorescences, consisting of small bell flowers, are painted in a pale pink hue.
The flowering of this variety occurs in May-June. Ripening of berries occurs by the beginning of September. The round fruits are dark red in color and have a sweet and sour taste.
Ruby is a photophilous variety, it is recommended to plant it in well-drained soil. The first harvest should be expected in 4 years. Good for making decoctions and infusions.
In the description of lingonberry Coral, it is noted that this plant reaches a height of 30 cm. It chooses damp deciduous and coniferous forest plantations as its place of growth. Prefers peat bogs.
The berries of the shrub are very attractive against the background of green foliage due to their rich red color. The inflorescences of the shrub are represented by delicate white flowers of the correct form with a slight pink tint. The flowering period also falls in May-June.
The variety is suitable for growing on infertile acidic soils. The most suitable substrate for planting in a vegetable garden is sand.and peat. From one hundred acres of land allocated for lingonberries of this variety, you can collect up to 60 kg of fresh berries.
Cowberry Red Pearl
Homeland of this plant is Holland. In the description of Red Pearl lingonberries, its early ripeness is noted. The bushes are notable for their wide crown, but they reach a height of 30 cm. The rounded leaves of a dark green hue are large in size.
The fruits of this variety of lingonberries are round, rich burgundy in color, quite large and can reach 12 mm in diameter. On the palate, a slight bitterness is noted. Fruits twice a season. Frost-resistant and able to endure up to -25 °С.