Much to the delight of the local fruit-eating birds, another native berry producing shrub is now in full display, loaded with ripe red fruits.
This shrub has several common names: American cranberrybush, cranberry viburnum, highbush or high bush cranberry. Its berries have the look and taste of cranberries but the two plants are not related. Cranberrybush is really a tall deciduous viburnum. True cranberries grow on dwarf evergreen shrubs in acidic bogs but the comparison once made, still lingers.
Cranberry viburnum fruits are scarlet red berries, really single seed drupes that hang in festive clusters.
Native to North America, the Tennessee Valley is on the extreme southern limit of its range. You can find them growing and in full fruit along the Universal Trail at Ijams Nature Center.