Plants densely colonial, frequently mat-forming; twigs of previous year green, terete, puberulent, not verrucose. Leaf blades pale and glandular abaxially, bright green adaxially, elliptic to obovate, 5-18 × 3-9 mm, glaucous-coriaceous, margins entire, slightly revolute. Pedicels 4-6 mm. Flowers: corolla pinkish white, 3-5 mm; filaments puberulent. Berries red, 8-10 mm diam. 2n = 24. Flowering late spring-early summer. Boreal taiga in jack-pine stands, muskegs, raised bogs, dry, rocky barrens, lichen woodlands, exposed habitats, heaths, high moors, headlands, tundras, cliffs, mountain summits; 0-1800 m; Greenland; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Nunavut, Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Conn., Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., N.H., Vt., Wis.; n Eurasia; circumboreal. The distribution of Vacciniumvitis-idaea in North America extends from northwestern Greenland at 77° north latitude, south to Connecticut at 42° north latitude, and from 45° west longitude (southern tip of Greenland) west to 170° west longitude (Aleutian Islands); it is rare in Connecticut (not collected since the late 1800s), Massachusetts, Vermont, and Wisconsin. This species has been erroneously reported from New York; it hybridizes with V. myrtillus in northern Europe, producing V. ×intermedium Ruthe. The hybrid might be anticipated in North America, but the two species are not known to occur together anywhere in the flora area.
Diffusely branched or prostrate shrub to 2 dm; lvs leathery, evergreen, subsessile, elliptic to obovate-oblong, 8-18 mm, rounded at both ends, sparsely dotted with erect black glands beneath; fls few in small terminal clusters, each on a short, glandular pedicel axillary to a bud-scale; sep glandular-ciliate; cor campanulate, 5-7 mm, 4-lobed nearly to the middle; stamens 8, included; fr red, edible, nearly 1 cm; 2n=24. In bogs and on rocks; boreal N. Amer. and Eurasia, s. to the higher mts. of N. Engl., the shore of Me., and to Minn. and B.C. (Vitis-idaea vitis-idaea; Vitis-idaea punctata)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.