Types of Cranberries
The American cranberry, Vaccinium Macrocarpon Ait., is a native berry to North America. The European species, Vaccinium Oxycoccus L., has never been cultivated in North America and has a smaller fruit which is often speckled. Because V. oxycoccus is a tetraploid species (the plant has twice as many chromosome sets as normal often resulting in large plants and flowers), it will not hybridize with the diploid, V. macrocarpon. Research on cranberries has primarily been conducted using the V. macrocarpon variety.
Varieties of Cranberries
There are more than 100 varieties of cranberries that grow in North America. Today the DNA of new varieties is patented. There are approximately 46,000 plants per acre. Some cranberry beds in WI, MA and NJ have the same vines that were planted over 100 years ago.
To plant cranberries of one variety, it is necessary to plant vines with roots or get a cutting and turn it into the soil so it can root. Seeds from berries on a vine may not yield exactly the same variety as bees may pollinate it from another variety.
Wisconsin accounts for more production than Massachusetts because the average grower's acreage is 70 acres in Wisconsin versus 20 acres in Massachusetts and the total acreage is larger. Combined with newer, higher yielding varieties and more rectangular vs. irregular fields, the Wisconsin growers get higher yields. Property values are also considerably higher in Massachusetts with land developers ever present.