Cranberries Float | Outside My Window


Cranberry on Mt. Davis, 14 Oct 2018 (photo by Kate St. John)

In October the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania went on a field trip to Christner Bog on Mt. Davis, the highest mountain (actually a plateau) in Pennsylvania.  We were admonished to bring waterproof boots so I wore my best muck boots. They’re ankle high and they were not enough.

It rained so much this fall that the bog was over-full.  I learned that day that plateau bogs are surrounded by a moat of deeper water. (Knee-high boots required!)  It was a huge challenge to tiptoe on submerged branches and lumps to cross the moat.

On the other side of the moat, the water was still too deep for my boots so I stood on a hummock while everyone else explored the center of the bog.

Botanical Society of Western PA outing to Christner Bog on Mt. Davis, Oct 2018 (photo by Kate St. John)

They found lots of cool plants among the sphagnum moss.  I looked down and found wild cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccos).

Wild cranberries among the sphagnum moss, Mt. Davis, 14 Oct 2018 (photo by Kate St. John)

So I picked one, shown at top.

I wish I’d opened the berry to see the air chambers that hold its tiny seeds.

Cranberries inside and out (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Instead I dropped the berry in the moat on my way out, hoping an animal would eat it later.

I’d forgotten that cranberries float.

(photos by Kate St. John)