The University Gardens

Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) and V. vitis-idaea (lingonberry)

Popular as eating and for medicine

Bjørn Moe

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Since time immemorial, people traveling through forests and the countryside have eaten bilberries and lingonberries. They were also sought after by the urban population, and seeds are found in large quantities in the latrines that have been examined from medieval Bergen. Bilberries in particular were then, as now, easily accessible and were probably collected in the city's surrounding areas.

In folk medicine, dried bilberries are a popular home remedy for an upset stomach, and a mild antidiarrheal. Lingonberries can be stored in water or as juice for winter use and were widely used as a remedy for fever and sore throats. Leaves of both species have been dried and used as tea which could also be used as a remedy for fever and colds.

Return to Bergen's plants.