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Cranberries: A Thanksgiving Staple With a Rich History and Unique Biology

Cranberries, domesticated about 200 years ago in the U.S., have unique cultivation and genetic traits. They are a Thanksgiving staple due to their harvest season aligning with the holiday. Wisconsin leads in production, and the fruit is also significant in Canada. Cranberries have expanded into various products but remain a holiday favorite.

Cranberries, a recent addition to agriculture, were domesticated around 200 years ago in the U.S.

Cranberries are a staple in U.S. households at Thanksgiving – but how did this bog dweller end up on holiday tables?

Compared to many valuable plant speciesA species is a group of living organisms that share a set of common characteristics and are able to breed and produce fertile offspring. The concept of a species is important in biology as it is used to classify and organize the diversity of life. There are different ways to define a species, but the most widely accepted one is the biological species concept, which defines a species as a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable offspring in nature. This definition is widely used in evolutionary biology and ecology to identify and classify living organisms.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>species that were domesticated over thousands of years, cultivated cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a young agricultural crop, just as the U.S. is a young country and Thanksgiving is a relatively new holiday. But as a plant scientist, I’ve learned much about cranberries’ ancestry from their botany and genomics.

Source: SciTechDaily