Heath family (Ericaceae)
Dwarf shrub up to 50 cm tall. Young stems green and angled, while leaves – arranged helically – are obovate in shape, paler underneath, turning red before being shed. Flowers present singly, suspended from leaf axils on stalks. Corolla dark green, barrel-shaped, 5-6 mm long. (Highly) edible fruits are spherical berries, black with a touch of blue. Flowers Apr.-Jun.
Grows on mesic or moist nutrient-poor, or moderately fertile soils. Habitat includes coniferous and mixed/coniferous forest, oak woodland, tall oak-lime-hornbeam forest and alder carr, as well as heathlands and moors. Anthocyanins present in fruit are of proven medicinal value.
Descriptions devised by the team at the Independent Department of Forest Botany, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, i.e. L. Witkowska-Żuk, K. Marciszewska, W. Ciurzycki, A. Obidziński and P. Zaniewski