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(crowberry), a genus of plants of the family Empetraceae. The plants are low evergreen monoecious or dioecious shrubs; the leaves are narrow and thick and have edges that curve down and almost meet. The flower is small, axillary, and trimerous and has a double perianth; there are three stamens and a radial stigma, and the superior ovary is six-, nine-, or 12-celled. The fruit is a berry-like drupe with a watery and slightly sweet juice. There are only a few species of Empetrum (18, according to some data), which grow over the entire Holarctic region and in the antarctic region (the Chilean Andes, Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and Tristan da Cunha). The plant is found on moss, moss-lichen, and rocky tundras and in sphagnum bogs—and more rarely on sandy spits and dunes, in forests, and in the alpine belt. The best-known species is crowberry (E. nigrum). The berries of Empetrum are sometimes used as food, especially in regions where there are few other juicy berry fruits.
REFERENCEVasil’ev, V. N. Rod Empetrum. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV