- (Viburnum trilobum) The highbush cranberry is actually not a cranberry at all, though its fruit, or “drupes” as they are known taxonomically, strongly resemble cranberries in both appearance and taste. They also mature in the fall, as cranberries do. The two plants are quite different, however. In North America, the highbush cranberry stretches from British Columbia east to Newfoundland, south to Washington state and east to northern Virginia, with an isolated population in New Mexico Considered a large and hardy deciduous shrub with a moderate growth rate of up to 3 ft. per year, the plant is typically 8 to 10 feet tall by 8 to 10 feet wide, with arching stems and a very dense, rounded form, making it a popular landscaping choice for use as a screening hedge [For a solid screen, plants should be spaced 2 to 3 ft. apart.]. It is noted for attracting wildlife, especially birds which benefit greatly from the fruit, which can remain on the branches well into mid winter. The fruits/drupes can be eaten raw (though not very tasty that way) or cooked, and like cranberries, they are rich in vitamin C and so have a tart, acid taste (the taste is best after a frost and when picked slightly under-ripe). They are an excellent substitute for cranberries and are likewise used in preserves, jams/jellies, sauces, etc., which make delicious condiments for meat and game.