Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 20. Mountain crowberry Pt. 2

One day, I woke up to find that the male part of the flower which projects an anther over the flower, had been eaten off. I was lucky enough to find other buds I hadn’t noticed before and managed to keep the eating insects away until the stamens shrivelled up of their own accord. This allowed me to complete the picture as I had hoped.

Of course this process was so exciting that it kept me motivated to paint all the tiny leaves!

I used quite a bit of my sketch page information in the final artwork, even the small immature berries I had found when starting to sketch in July 2017 and the trial piece on vellum.

Working out my composition and creating line drawing to trace over.

 When researching more on this plant recently, particularly in relation to its use in food, I discovered that although the berries are edible, apparently there is a potential for the leaves to poison the immediately local environment, making its own habitat more secure; the jury is still out on this question but it is wiser to leave the leaves alone.

But, the berries are fine and because the seeds are quite big and the skin quite tough, it is used mostly for juice, either cooked or raw. Additionally, it is suggested that whilst out walking in the mountains that picking and chewing the fruit is very thirst quenching. I will have to remember that.

Unripe fruit. Actual size 5.3mm

One sketch I didn’t use in the final artwork was this one from my initial drawings. It is very interesting but, in some respects, didn’t give any more information to the final picture. It is an unripe fruit, enlarged (the original fruit was 5.3 mm across), containing the sepals , the remainder of the female flower and the shrivelled stamens. Compare this with the ripe fruit at the beginning of the previous blog where the same parts are also just visible.

The native range of this subspecies is Subarctic to Subalpine Northern Hemisphere including Great Britain and Norway. It is a subshrub and grows primarily in the temperate biome. 

Source: Kew – Plants of the World Online

Having collected enough data and sketches, I started painting the final picture on vellum  August 2021 and finished it January 2022.


Mountain Crowberry jelly

Crowberry contains little pectin. This means that it is difficult, if not impossible, to make Mountain crowberry jelly based only on the berries. To get Mountain Crowberry jelly stiff, mix the berries with other types of berries that are rich in pectin, for example lingonberries. It is also possible to mix with apples, which contain a lot of pectin or gelatine sheets.

3 dl raw mountain crowberry juice (see recipe below)

Juice of a lemon

1-2 dl water

6-7 sheets of gelatine

  1. Soak the gelatine sheets for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Pour off most of the water and dissolve them in a small amount of warm water. 
  3. Mix the cold Mountain crowberry juice, lemon juice and water. 
  4. Whilst continuously stirring, slowly and carefully pour the juice mixture into the melted gelatine. 
  5. Pour into clean small glasses. 

This is an excellent accompaniment to venison.

 Raw Mountain Crowberry juice

This is a fresh and colourful juice but not very durable, and requires a lot of sugar and a cold storage place. It is easier to freeze the juice in small portions and thawed when needed.

 1 kg Mountain Crowberries – or the amount picked.

5 dl boiled and cooled water – equivalent 1:2 of berries

10 grams of citric acid – 25-30 gm per litre raw juice.

750 grams of sugar per litre of raw juice

  1. Rinse and crush the berries well. 
  2. Put the berry pulp in a large bowl or bucket, and add pre-boiled, cold water and citric acid. 
  3. Leave the mixture covered and chilled overnight.
  4. Pour the mass into a strainer and let the juice drain well. 
  5. Measure the amount of juice and add sugar. 
  6. Stir well until all the sugar has dissolved. 
  7. Skim and pour it into clean bottles/containers.

Can be mixed to taste with water – or something else. 

The next blog will be 28 May 2023

Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 19. Mountain crowberry Pt.1

Visiting family at 1200 meters. The red leaves are Arctostaphylos alpina -or Alpine bearberry and the berries also edible.
Just below the mountain top at 1100 metres. Mountain Crowberry, Red Lingonberries and autumn coloured Bilberry plants.
Mountain crowberry on vellum.

Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum, mountain crowberry in english or krekling in norwegian, is a very interesting species. But when you start studying plants, which one is not interesting?

But this plant created a lot of excitement for me – which I will describe.

As with the other plants in this series, I knew and recognised the plant but didn’t know much about it. To me it was a common plant as I have lived in the mountains here, and like many people took it for granted. Apparently, it grows well as long as it gets enough sun.

One  part of my painting (see sketch) was a tiny plant from a mountain top 4th July, with snow swirling around me. The plant was tiny in comparison to those growing in areas where there is plenty of nourishment, but it definitely shows how tough it is. The roots were buried into cracks in the rock.

Sketch with tiny plant specimen.

As with the other plants in this series I used ‘Norges Flora’ by Knut Fægri to find out more. I would love to get hold of these books because although old, they contain so much information about each species.

It was in reading about the plant that I understood that there are two species of Empetrum nigrum, one is single sex and grows at sea level and low-lying areas, and the other, a subspecies, is hermaphrodite (the one I am painting). The leaf arrangement on the specimens I was using showed clearly that it was hermaphrodite; the distance between leaves is a diagnostic point.

Victsing lens

After doing my research I looked at the plant more closely and was able to see vestiges of a dried up flower in a leaf axil. I also read that the fruit retains the stamens as it develops and found some of these too. You will see the remnants of these in the ripe Mountain crowberry above.

Dried out flower vestiges

I have a piece of the plant in my garden and have been able to follow the plant’s development in detail. This was where the ‘Victsing’ lens for my mobile phone really came in useful as it helped to enhance the detail and let me see what was going on. I was also able to take loads of pictures underway.

In August 2017 the tiniest of buds started to appear in the leaf axils of that year’s new growth. I was able to follow the development on a regular basis, until the following spring when the same bud developed into the flower you see in my final artwork. I expect some of you may now understand why I got so excited.

The two pictures showing the growing tip of the plant were taken at different times. The first in August 2017 and the second in April 2018 – the same tip.

When I saw the tiny flower buds and recognised what they were, I initially thought that the plant was going to flower early and rushed out every morning to see what was happening. Nothing did until I saw the faintest slither of pink the next April.

I should have done more research! Because that is what a botanical artist needs to do; look, see and understand. I have learnt so much about plants since I started drawing them and this is the first thing my students comment; they learn to look and see! Funnily enough it makes walks in the countryside even more interesting.

I followed the same buds and saw them develop and open up into flowers that could hardly be seen with the naked eye. The flower when fully open is about 2mm across! But something had seen them, a tiny caterpillar! 

I will tell you about what happened in my next blog due to be published 25 May 2023.

One picture shows the tiny developing fruit with the vestiges of the stamens still attached. The underside of the leaves seem to have a white line running though, almost like a vein. As you can see with the leaf cut in half, the white line is where the edges of the leaves roll under and meet each other forming a hollow tube.

Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 10. My working practice


Do these three pictures have good compositions? It is not easy for you to judge from these as composition is the area within the mount edge – the image and background.

  • Benton Iris ‘Farewell’ is Watercolour and graphite. The painting is part of the Cedric Morris Florilegium.
  • Dying Rosa rugosa is in Watercolour. It was one of the first paintings I did after returning to Norway. The sprig was sticking up above the snow, so it shrivelled quite fast.
  • Rhododendron impeditum is also watercolour and graphite. This picture is part of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium.

Composition in botanical art is not necessarily very straightforward. As botanical art is ‘art’ it should have a main focal point that draws you into the picture. Once your eye is drawn into the picture, something needs to lead it around within that picture and prevent it from being lead off elsewhere.

On top of this, botanical art must be botanically correct. 

The first digital arrangement of my cloudberry sketches

Combining the art and botany for each picture is hugely difficult particularly when you have different sections telling a story about a plant. Having a series of plants in separate pictures that elaborate the story compounds the problem. 

To try and reduce the problem a little I started to arrange the pictures digitally. I scanned some of my sketches and moved them around within a 31 x 25cm area. It gave me something to think about when deciding what to include in each picture and how many more sketches I would need to get all the information I needed.

Scanning and arranging digitally gave me the opportunity to do something similar with my other species and the ability to compare them against each other. This composition looks nothing like the final one, but I kept rearranging until I was satisfied.

I worked hard to compose my set of pictures so that they looked a series. This can be quite difficult when some are from different families 

  1. Rubus chamaemorus – Rosaceae
  2. Vaccinium oxycoccus Subsp. microcarpum – Ericaceae
  3. Vaccinium uliginosum – Ericaceae
  4. Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum- Ericaceae
  5. Vaccinium myrtillus – Ericaceae
  6. Vaccinium vitis-idaea – Ericaceae
  7. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi – Ericaceae

The first word in each species is the Genus name from which the plant is derived. Four are Vacciniums from the same Genus.  Six of the plants are from the Ericaceae (heather) Family and you can see this by the similarity of the flowers. One is from the Rosaceae(rose) family, and the stipules on the leaves (tags at the base of the leaves) is a clear indication of this.

Deciding the enlargement was relatively easy with the plants from the Ericaceae Family where the fruit is comparable. But as everything was larger on the Cloudberry picture, only the scale bars can give the size.

My aim with all the pictures was to let people see and understand the incredible flora and edible fruit available in the mountains. Many look at plants and think them pretty, or know where to pick certain fruits, but not so many study the plant and understand how intriguing it really is. This is an opportunity.

What to include in each composition.

I went through my sketchbook and made sure that I had enough information about each plant to fit on my vellum, mounted on blocks by William Cowley’s. I didn’t want to overcrowd each picture. 

The focus was the plant and its fruit, but one can’t do this without highlighting its flowers. I decided to introduce a picture of the flowers and fruit but restrict dissections to the fruit only. That is until I got to the cloudberry which was going to be the most difficult to integrate into the series. But it isn’t called ‘Mountain Gold’ for nothing.

In the end, all but the cloudberry picture included a branch enlarged and branches actual size to indicate habit. Each had an enlarged flower, plus fruit with both longitudinal (LS) and transverse sections (TS). These are the finished longitudinal sections from each fruit; the largest being the Cloudberry.

In the next blog I will be talking about my transfer process. This comes 23 April 2023.

Only Eight weeks until the RHS Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London;

Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 6. History of the project

My best view – Andersnatten at 23:00 in June.

Anyone would think I am trying to sell Norway. I am, it is a fantastically beautiful country. The picture above is in Sigdal, the valley below Haglebu. It is the view we had from the house we built in the late 1970’s. It is from here that I learnt to love Norwegian flora.

In the previous blog I finished off by saying that I still hadn’t seen any sign of one of the two species that got me going with this series of plants. This was the Bearberry (Arcostaphylos uva-ursi). I had already found out that they were not known to grow in the county I now live – along the west side of the Oslo Fjord; In fact locals didn’t seem to know about the plant!

In 2017, that very first summer of sketching, I managed to do some sketches of each of the five species already found. This gave me a feel for the plants but I still needed to do a lot of research into them. I had found that the cloudberry is dioecious – the male and female reproductive organs are separated in two different organisms; each plant is either male or female. My girlfriend from whom we had borrowed the cottage that year, was not aware of this. But, it seems, she was not alone in this as it was a surprise to many Norwegians with a cursory knowledge of the plants around them.

There was plenty of mountain crowberry ( Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum) in the area round the cottage. The crowberry is a family of plants that isn’t quite straight forward in that the species at lower altitudes is dioecious like the Cloudberry, but at this altitude in the mountains is more generally a subspecies called ‘hermaphroditum’. This means it carries both male and female reproductive parts.

Finding plants and choices in 2018

The cottage at Flatvollen, near Haglebu. 906 metres over sea level.

As I realised I was going to need quite a few years to complete my series with only two weeks at a time when we could get to Norway, we decided to rent a cottage at a higher level in the mountains. We looked at an area where I had used to go skiing when younger – Haglebu at the top of the Sigdal valley where it goes over the mountain then steeply down into the next valley. This time we found a cottage at 906 metres over sea level and I could see that I would be near the plants I intended to paint. Although I still hadn’t found the one plant I had been looking for.

In front of the cottage there was quite a boggy plain and I knew that I could get plants such as Cloudberry there. Behind the cottage was steep mountain and I knew most of the other plants would be available to me there. 

We went for a short hike and explored. The marshy area was quite wet, but there were a lot of Cloudberry plants. Unfortunately, it was too late in the season to see any flowers but getting onto my hands and knees I got a real surprise. Weaving in and out of the boggy moss was the tiniest plant, with the smallest flowers and leaves. The plant was so insubstantial but lying on top of the moss were the remains of some red berries. This was Vaccinium oxycoccus Subsp. microcarpum (small Cranberry). The Cranberry bought in our shops is Vaccinium macrocarpum – large cranberry, and of course cultivated in large amounts in the US. 

I had just found my 6th plant, but still not the bearberry.

Below you see the small cranberry on top of the moss with sprigs of bog bilberry and mountain crowberry and a little Betula nana (Dwarf birch), often found as the last tree (no more than a low shrub) on the tree line.

I had to remind myself that the reason for getting interested in this series of plants was because the bearberry often got mixed up with the lingonberry (cowberry), and this often happened at lower elevations. I needed to continue my hunt for the species.

We went hunting and eventually I found quite a few plants in a dry sandy forest area in the next valley. This was Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry). I now had my seven species, although one of them was not in the immediate area where I was collecting my samples. That is, until I found some very near the cottage, growing down a rock face.

Finding the Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (bearberry)

More on the 9 April 2023

Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 5. History of the project

Since moving back to Norway there have been two bumper years for Cloudberry fruit and this is why we have so much in the freezer now.

But back to my sketches that were incomplete right up until last summer (2022). This plant in particular is not easy to find if you don’t know exactly where to look, and even then you might miss the right period of time.

We took a couple of long day trips into the mountains to look, and we eventually found what was missing. As well as a lot of driving, I extended the workday when I got back home. The flowers don’t last long and whilst I had them, I needed to dissect and sketch with measurements before going to bed. 

Robin birdwatching

The typical demands to a botanical artist. But luckily during the summer months we have a lot of daylight hours in southern Norway – in fact around mid-summer the sky doesn’t really go dark. Birdwatching at midnight is different to say the least! The picture to the left is Robin birdwatching at 5 mins past midnight on the 12 June – still over a week to mid-summer!

The lesson learned? Make sure when sketching that you have the where-with-all to measure various aspects of your plant and to make accurate colour swatches.

Equipment for sketching outside

As you will see from the pictures at the top, sketching on location can have various problems, from ants still defending their old anthill, a very hard bottom rest and a helpful cat.

The anthills in the Norwegian forests can be huge, but so too can the ants. They have a large territory to look after and a lot of old wood to turn into something future generations of trees and ants can live off. But they do have a painful bite! One often finds several of the plant species I was considering, growing on them. One often finds lingonberry, bilberry and mountain crowberry, well established on them. It also suggests what some of the ants transport to their home.

When I am out sketching in nature I minimise the amount of equipment I have with me. I try to keep everything in the same sketchbook and for watercolour use a Stillman & Birn, Zeta series. It has stood up well to the battering it has had and takes the watercolour washes well. 

Normally I use a bum-bag when walking not too far and it will contain this kit:

Of course I go nowhere in the mountains without my mobile phone, but these days they are much more than a phone or safety net. The Victsing 3-in-1 mobile phone camera lens was introduced to me many years ago by Sarah Morrish and I use this to get the details not normally seen very well. In particular it enabled me to get a picture and draw the growing tip with flowers of the Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum (mountain crowberry) . I keep a small piece of mm paper with it to measure within the photos.

My palette is an old one with the original student colours removed and replaced with artist quality colours. I use transparent single pigment colours and normally have a couple of yellows and Quin Gold, Permanent Rose, Perylene Violet, Purple, A cold and warm blue and this time a single pigment green.

The pencils preferred are a 3B and HB as they are easy to lift if necessary, plus a single black fine liner pen. I only need to sharpen one of the pencils so have a sharpener to fit that. Otherwise travel brushes, ruler and erasers, magnifying glass, small water holder and kitchen towel. 

Sketching in the New Forest in the UK. I got a tick bite this time, but it wasn’t infected.
A dire warning; this is what happens when an infected tick bites. This is Robin’s leg last year.

If I take specimens with me, then I have a small plastic bag ready and can add some of my painting water. Sketching back in the cottage or at home means that I have all my equipment available.

I nearly forgot an important addition to the list above; Insect repellant because of the ticks, and sun screen, particularly here in Norway where the air is so clear.

The picture to the left is Robin’s leg last summer after a tick bite! We have a lot of dear and ticks, but doctors are very aware of the dangers and are quick to prescribe treatment.

A serious start on the series in 2017

My friend’s cottage at 800m over sea level.

By 2017 I still hadn’t decided which plants I was going to paint and this first year we borrowed a cottage from one of my oldest friends in Norway. The cottage was at about 850m over sea level. 

Around the cottage we found Rubus chamaemorus (cloudberry), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum)and mountain crowberry (Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum). This was a pretty good start. 

Notice that three of them were Vacciniums – from the heather family. In fact the Blueberries you buy in the shops are yet another species (Vaccinium corymbosum) but they are farmed and not included in my choice.

Importantly I hadn’t found a bearberry (Arcostaphylos uva-ursi) which was partly the reason for choosing to do this series.

But there were loads of other lovely flowers such as Heath spotted orchids, geraniums and various insectivorous plants such as the Common butterwort. There was also plenty of Andromeda polifolia (bog rosemary) in the moss and amongst the new Cloudberry leaves. When seeing it growing at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, I realised it was an opportunity to paint the species and the resulting picture resides in the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium collection.

Andromeda polifolia – Bog Rosemary

This continues on 6 April 2023

An update: life and botanical art

Empetrum nigrum & tracing to vellum

I have been working on four of my six or seven pictures to go to an RHS exhibition in London. This has been a very long-going saga as the process has been interrupted several times since I decided to do it.

Mountain area – home to the plant series.

After the last time I took part in the RHS exhibition in 2014 I decided that I was going to do a series of plants called ‘Foraging in the Norwegian Mountains’. Anyone who has read my blog, which more recently has been rather sporadic, will have heard me talk about the series on numerous occasions.

Whilst living on the South coast of England I travelled to Norway for two weeks each year to sketch the plants I had chosen. This was the only time I had them accessible although I had some similar plants in my garden in Bosham. I have to say that they didn’t flourish there – too warm.

But then other things got in the way;

Invitation to the England part of the Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition

2016-2018, I started up the Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA) and managed the England entry to the Worldwide Exhibition in 2018.

2018. As founder and president, changed ABBA to a membership organisation

Support from Dr Shirley Sherwood who became the ABBA Patron
ABBA logo from 2019
ABBA logo 2016-2018

2019. By the middle of this year ABBA was well on its way as a recognised botanical art organisation and Elaine Allison took over managing the ABBA project completely. I thought, at last I would have time to paint. I had done some, but not as much as I would have liked and working on the Norwegian plants project had been limited to two weeks each year.

December 2019, Covid hit us all.

Before – Bosham in May – South coast England

Mid 2020. My daughter, living in Norway, expressed her anxiety for us if anything happened. What she actually said was that we were too old to live in England by ourselves and that it was about time we moved back to Norway. Robin, who had never lived in Norway, promised to learn the language and his son (who had just moved back to England) gave his blessing. The rest of 2020 became filled with house selling, packing, moving, home searching and buying – my daughter even coped with us living with her!!

After – Skoppum in May – Eastern Norway

Robin started to learn the language, but all the legal stuff in relation to officialdom and applying for residency in an EEC country, plus details in relation to house buying, fell to me. I managed to paint the Fly agaric – Amanita muscaria and a couple of sketches in my perpetual diary (painting cup half-full), plus continued to advise and mark assignments for my Botanical art online course students.

Long shadows at midday, a month after the sun turned.

January 2021 – we moved into our new home with a view of the Oslo fjord in the distance. The year was used to make the house into our home, although we had a lot to learn about what works here and what doesn’t. The garden is mostly rock, so planting is very much an ongoing trial as we battle with little earth and a temperatures that vary between -20˚C to +35˚C (warming climate). Botanical art is not as well thought of as in the UK, but once the lock-downs are over I already have quite a list of people wanting to do a botanical art workshop.

Icy walking is only safe with studs – but the kitten doesn’t care as long as there are laces!

Now I have to plan my botanical art work a little differently living in Norway. We have had snow since November last year but it hasn’t been quite as cold as last winter, although that can change. With recent thaws during the day and minus degrees at night, the snow turns to thick ice. This means I don’t have access to my plants during the winter so I had to change my working process.

‘Foraging in the Norwegian Mountains’ botanical art series on vellum.

NB; I won’t be showing you the finished compositions until they are shown at the RHS exhibition – probably 2023, but will show parts of them.

After all these time delays for the series, all I had was sketches and colour samples in my sketch book, plus some small studies on the vellum I would be using. I had heard the phrase ‘productive procrastination’ and thought I now knew what it meant!

Cloudberry – Multe- Rubus chamaemorus sample on vellum
Sketchbook drawing Crowberry – Krekling – Empetrum nigrum

I had worked out the composition of all of my pictures and how they would be hung as a group at the exhibition. Each picture will be on mounted vellum and shows the plants both enlarged in colour and actual size in graphite. Last summer I painted the colour part of four pictures so that I would have the actual plants and could match colour at the same time. I planned to do the graphite on those four paintings during this winter and so far have completed three of them – except for scale bars.

Graphite on vellum is not easy and depends upon the vellum, which, as a living material can change from one part to another. In some areas I have been able to use pencils, but in others a brush. My last two paintings have very tiny leaves and the last one, Empetrum nigrum which I will show part of here, has been a bit of headache!

Graphite drawing on vellum

With Empetrum nigrum the leaves actual size are about 2mm long and the unripe fruit is about 4mm. I have had to vary the hardness of the pencil used so that I get clean lines, rather than gritty ones. It doesn’t seem to matter if I use my most expensive pencils or not as it is the surface of the vellum that decides. Sometimes I use the pencil first, if too pale I paint a layer of water-soluble graphite on top, then finish off with another layer of pencil, finally lifting off loose graphite and ’fixing’ it with water. It certainly is not as straight forward as using graphite on paper.

This winter, only one more vellum picture to finish off with the graphite drawing. Spring is on its way, although the sun is still low on the horizon; plants will wake up after their winter rest; trips into the mountains to look forward to and planning for the colour part of the final three pictures.

When I wasn’t walking in Norway …

…..I was either hunting for plants or painting.

I had a list of plant detail that I had worked out I needed to complete the composition planning for my series of pictures. My vellum size for each piece is 25 x 31 cm – which I suppose relatively speaking is quite small. But all but one of my plants is very small with leaves varying from 2-6mm long on the Vaccinium microcarpum, to the Rubus chamaemorus where the leaves vary hugely in size.

Vaccinium microcarpum – Small Cranberry – Leaves 2-6mm long.

Impetrum niger ssp. Hermaphroditum – Crowberry – Leaves 3-6 mm long

Rubus chaaemorus – Cloudberry (image is 13cm high)

I decided that rather than work on all seven pictures at once as I have done so far, I would work on half this year and the rest next year. For all of them I needed to do some colour matching on vellum as this will be different to the colours I have used on paper. You have already seen the small piece I did on the Cranberry a couple of blogs ago. You may also have noticed the difference to the actual flower size (tiny) and the painting  which I did at twice the size.

Luckily enough although there is a slight difference in the terrain from which each of the plants come from, we have found each species within walking distance of the cottage in which we have been staying. The Cloudberry and the Cranberry can be found intertwined with each other in the soggy sphagnum moss – but not always. The Bog Blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) comes from a similar area, but I have seen it reaching up the side of rugged outcrops. The Crowberry can be found all over the mountains although the Ssp Hermaphroditum can only be found at higher altitudes. The Bilberry can also be found pretty well most places, but doesn’t seem to be above the tree-line and doesn’t seem to like really boggy areas. The Cowberry – Lignonberry (Vaccinium vitas-idaea) is spread on ant mounds and rocky outcrops.  Common Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) likes much drier conditions and is often found in pine woods. But we did find an example not far from the cottage. Last year Robin drove about 150km to find a spot that I knew about!

Below is the colour sample of the Bog blueberry done this year. The very new new leaves start out quite red and as they get older they become bluer and stiffer. Sorry the photo is a little dark.

Vaccinium uliginosum – Bog blueberry – Watercolour on vellum 5×7″, painted twice natural size.