Page author: David Giblin
Empetrum nigrum

Distribution: In the Cascades and Olympic Mountains of Washington; Alaska south to California.

Habitat: Exposed rocky bluffs, but also in peat bogs.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Low, spreading shrub, up to 1.5 dm. tall, the somewhat woolly branches up to 3 dm. long.


Leaves nearly round in cross section, partly in whorls of 4 and partly alternate, glandular-puberulent, 4-8 mm. long, the margins revolute, the lower surface grooved.


Flowers axillary, perfect to imperfect (monoecious or dioecious), 3 mm. long, subtended by 3 chaffy bracts, smaller but similar to the 6 sepals; inner 3 sepals brownish-purple, petal-like; petals none; perfect and staminate flowers with 3 stamens; pistil 1, the stigma peltate, with 6-9 short lobes.


Fruit drupe-like, globular, purplish-black, 4-5 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Empetrum nigrum L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 2: 1022. 1753. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Empetrum nigrum L. ssp. hermaphroditum (Hagerup) Böcher [KZ99]
Empetrum nigrum L. ssp. nigrum [KZ99]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Empetrum nigrum in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Empetrum nigrum checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Empetrum nigrum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Empetrum nigrum photos.

USDA Plants: Empetrum nigrum information.

23 photographs:
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