I’ve never found wild asparagus, but, while staying in Lassen National Forest, I came across some small skinny shoots shaped just like asparagus and wondered if I had. Highbush cranberry is not a true cranberry, it is actually a member of the honeysuckle family. European highbush cranberries (Viburnum opulus) taste bitter, with an awful aftertaste like wet dog. The first time we found the cranberry plants, I was a little surprised by their small stature. A good highbush cranberry should taste pleasantly tart, with a hint of funk, not bitter and disgusting. Foraging Highbush Cranberry for Food & Medicine. Highbush Cranberry de-befuddled Viburnum edule : the real deal Highbush Cranberries are one of the most confusing groups of edible plants in our region on account of poorly understood identifying characteristics and unimaginative common names. Highbush cranberry (Viburnum opulus var. Left to right: Suspect L. Deterrimus, and real saffron milkcaps. Another edible viburnum, along with highbush cranberry, wild raisin, and nannyberry. A large shrub - 8-15 ft high and almost as wide - it has large (2-4 in long), 3-lobed leaves that resemble maple leaves but are more wrinkled. I was expecting something more like a blueberry, but these plants are very small, trailing shrubs, growing close to the ground. The arching stems create a dense, rounded form. Hobblebush grows a bit differently than the others, with a sprawling habit and gigantic leaves. They create roots at their leaf nodes, and many stems are connected by underground rhizomes, creating dense mats of vine-like growth. The flowers are small white clusters and can be self-pollinated. Every fall the hedgerows are filled with color in my neighborhood. But the fruits can resemble them in taste and looks (University of Maine Extension 2019). I just found this post after googling asparagus lookalikes for probably the 20th time this month. Highbush Cranberry grows in moist areas of North America's boreal forest. Highbush cranberry tolerates most soil types, frost, and drought. I like jelly that’s barely set, still a bit wiggly. The flat, umbrella-shaped clusters of white flowers can be seen from May to July. americanum), also known as American cranberry bush, is confusingly not actually related to the cranberries we love to eat around the holidays (i.e., Vaccinium species). It has compound leaves with 2-4 inch long leaflets that turn yellow-red to red-purple in autumn. I found my first one in late summer, and as soon as I had my eye tuned to them I found hundreds of hobblebushes by early fall when the edible berries ripen. The leaves are glossy green in summer turning red in the fall.