Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)
The Crowberry plant is a creeping, matted, perennial evergreen shrub with short, light-green needlelike leaves. The leaves are deeply grooved beneath with the edges rolled under. The purplish crimson flowers are small and ordinary looking. It has small, shiny, black berries that remain on the bush throughout the winter.
Where to Find: Look for this plant in tundra throughout arctic regions of North America and Eurasia. The plant prefers acidic soils in shady, moist areas. They thrive in cold coniferous forests and acidic rocky slopes.
Other Uses: The high concentration of anthocyanin pigment makes the berry and ideal natural food dye.
Some areas of the world use the leaves and stems as a medicine for diarrhea and stomach problems and to treat eye conditions. They are boiled or soaked in hot water and then strained.