Highbush cranberry (Viburnum edule)
Gitxsan name: sgants'idipxst or ts'idipxst
Wet'suwet'en name: tsalhtse
- straggling to erect shrub, 0.5-2.5 metres tall, with smooth, reddish bark
- three lobed, sharply toothed leaves that are hairy underneath with a pair
of teeth near the junction of the blade and stem
- small cluster of white flowers
- one-seeded, red or orange, berrylike drupes, edible, juicy, acid and tart
- musky-sour odor in fall
- found in moist forest, seepage areas, swamps and streambanks
- low to medium elevations
Photo courtesy of Jim Pojar (61kB)
The berries were collected in the fall after being sweetened by the
frost. They were eaten fresh, or mixed with oolichan or bear grease. Infusions of the bark
and twigs were drunk for coughs, tuberculosis, pneumonia and an unidentified illness
referred to as "blood spitting".
The berries were never dried, but fresh berries could be preserved over
the winter by placing them in a box with oolichan grease.
The Wet'suwet'en smoked the bark of the highbrush cranberry to ease
This digital collection was produced under contract to the SchoolNet
Digital Collection Program, Industry Canada.