** Please click on Highbush Cranberries to start at the beginning of this adventure. **
Well, this time I approached it like the professional scientist I once was (Ewwwww!). I hated it, but it does work, and it’s still easy for me to do. So I researched it and found many sites explaining that there are 3 species of highbush cranberries, and only one is unpalatable. That was where all sense of reason, logic, and competence ceased. There was alot of talk about petioles, spikes, shrub size, rate of growth, shrub height, leaf shape, leaf size, leaf coarseness, veining depth & orientation, and a crapload of other “positive identifiers”. Positive identifiers which differed from one shrub to another depending on the website. I had no doubt the identifiers were real, so at least I knew what to look for. I went and did it the only way a true scientist knows how. I made a best guess and tasted a berry from a shrub I knew to be highbush, but not knowing which species. It tasted ok. No bitterness. So, I noted the shrub’s appearance, collected a branch from it, and studied it up close while my incredibly patient wife drove around looking for another bush. Fortunately, or not, depending on your POV, the next bush was clearly the same species as last night’s tragic culinary disaster. While desperately sucking a Werther’s, I compared the 2 branches. Sure enough, the identifiers were there, just not in any order resembling what I’d read from my screen. I find plagiarism disgusting under any circumstances, especially when the perp doesn’t even try to cover his/her tracks. On many of those sites, I saw obvious e-copies of phrases &/or claims from other sites. At least reword it you incompetent thieves ! I wouldn’t mind so much except one of those sites was a respectable university’s, and the other, a dept. of the federal government. So it appears I shouldn’t turn my back on my scientific background after all. The berries might’ve left a bad taste in my mouth, but not as bitter as the realization that while I’ve been messing around trying to ID highbush cranberries, the birds have denuded the palatable bush’s branches of berries, leaving me with the dregs. And I wouldn’t mind that so much except the unpalatable dregs are gorgeous in their translucent clusters. I see them positively glowing from the roadside. Taunting me they are. Damned birds !
** Please see The Lowdown on Highbush Cranberries 3 for the final post on this subject**