Overview

Brief Summary

Vaccinium corymbosum, blueberry or highbush blueberry, sometimes known as whortleberry, is a deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae (heath family) that is native to eastern North America and is the source of most commercially cultivated blueberries and blueberry varieties, and is now cultivated in temperate regions of Europe and New Zealand, as well as North America.

Other commercially important species of blueberries include the lowbush blueberry, V. angustifolium, which is the source of many wild-harvested blueberries in Canada and Maine, and rabbiteye blueberry, V. ashei, which is cultivated in the southeastern U.S. There are also numerous other wild blueberry species, some of which are may also be called bilberries, although the name bilberry often refers specifically to V. myrtillus.

V. corymbosum is a shrub that can reach heights of nearly 7 m (15 ft), although generally grows to 1.5 m (5 ft) in cultivated varieties and typical sites. The alternate, simple leaves are oval to elliptical, up to 8 cm (3 in) long. The white to pinkish campanulate (bell-shaped) or tubular 4-parted flowers are borne in lateral clusters of several flowers each. The fruits are berries that ripen to blue or blackish purple, sometimes with a glaucous bloom (waxy coating), and are around 1.5 cm (5/16 in) in diameter, larger than many wild blueberry species; recently developed cultivars may have even bigger fruit.

Blueberries are rich dietary sources of vitamins C and K and the mineral manganese, are eaten fresh and prepared in juices, jams and jellies, syrups, sorbets, and compotes, as well as popular baked goods including muffins and pies. They may also be preserved by freezing or drying.

V. corymbosum typically grows in bogs or bog edges and wet sandy places, or in hummocks in tamarack swamps (Larix laricina) or fens, and rarely in drier uplands; it tolerates the acidic conditions typical of these areas. North American Vaccinium species, including the widespread V. corymbosum, are an important food source for numerous species of mammals and birds, and are estimated to make up 2 to 5% of the diet of 57 species.

Vaccinium species were an important food source for native peoples of North America for many centuries, but were generally wild-harvested, sometimes in managed stands, rather than cultivated. The development of cultivated varieties of blueberries occurred only since the late 1800s, making this one of the most recently domesticated fruit crops.

The FAO estimates that the total commercial harvest of blueberries (of all species) in 2010 was 312,047 metric tons, harvested from 74,649 hectares worldwide. The U.S. was the leading producer, generating 60% of the harvest, while Canada contributed another 27%, followed by Poland and Germany. Within the U.S., Michigan is the leading producer of cultivated blueberries, with 25% of the 2010 crop, while other states with significant harvests include Georgia, Oregon, New Jersey, and Washington. Maine has a large blueberry industry, but it is primarily based on wild-harvested, rather than cultivated, berries. These figures likely underestimate the full economic importance of blueberries, as many fruits are wild-harvested for local, rather than commercial use.

(Bailey et al. 1976, FAOSTAT 2012, Flora of North America 2012, Hedrick 1919, Martin et al. 1951, USDA 2012, van Wyk 2005.)

  • Bailey, L.H., E.Z. Bailey, and the L.H. Bailey Hortatorium. 1976. Hortus Third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. New York: Macmillan. p. 1129.
  • FAOSTAT. 2012. Searchable online statistical database from Food and Agriculture Division of the United Nations. Retrieved 10 July 2012 from http://faostat.fao.org/site/567/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=567#ancor.
  • Flora of North America. 2012 45. Vaccinium Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 349. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 166. 1754.Flora of North America8: 515. Accessed 12 July 2012 online: http://efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=134285.
  • Hedrick, U.P., ed. 1919. Sturtevant’s Notes on Edible Plants. State of New York. Dept of Agriculture. 27th annual report, vol. 2, part II. Albany, NY: J.B. Lyon Co. pp. 585–588.
  • Martin, A.C., H.S. Zim, and A.L. Nelson. 1951. American wildlife & plants a guide to wildlife food habits: the use of trees, shrubs, weeds, and herbs by birds and mammals of the United States. Prepared for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior. New York: Dover. pp. 356–358.
  • USDA. 2012. U.S. Blueberry Industry. Economics, Statistics, and Market Information System, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed 12 July 2012 online from http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1765..
  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. “Vaccinium corymbosum” “Vaccinium macrocarpon,” and “Vaccinium myrtillus.” Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 373–375.
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Comprehensive Description

Vaccinium formosum Andrews

Distribution

Wet pine flatwoods (WPF-T), wet pine savannas (SPS-T, SPS-RF, WLPS).

Notes

Occasional. Late Feb–May ; Jun–Aug . Thornhill 147, 150, 166, 173, 183, 264, 303, 305 (NCSC). Specimens seen in the vicinity: Sandy Run [Hancock]: Taggart SARU 23 (WNC!). [< Vaccinium corymbosum L. sensu RAB, FNA; = Weakley]

  • Thornhill, Robert, Krings, Alexander, Lindbo, David, Stucky, Jon (2014): Guide to the Vascular Flora of the Savannas and Flatwoods of Shaken Creek Preserve and Vicinity (Pender & Onslow Counties, North Carolina, U. S. A.). Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1099: 1099-1099, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1099
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Plazi

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Description

This deciduous-leaved shrub is 3-15' tall, branching occasionally. The short trunk and larger branches of this shrub have bark that is somewhat shredded and gray to gray-brown. Small branches and twigs are brownish yellow, brown, or red; they are either glabrous or minutely pubescent in fine lines, and often glandular-warty. Young shoots are light green, terete, and either glabrous or minutely pubescent in fine lines. Alternate leaves occur along the twigs and young shoots. These leaves are 1-3" long and ½-1½" across; they are elliptic to ovate in shape, while their margins are either smooth or finely serrated and often finely ciliate. The upper surface of the leaves is dark green, medium green, or yellowish green, glabrous, and slightly waxy; the lower surface is pale green and either glabrous or finely pubescent along the veins. The petioles of the leaves are light green and very short (about ¼" in length). Small clusters of nodding flowers are produced from either lateral or terminal shoots, often in succession along individual branches. These flowers are about 1/3" (8 mm.) in length. Each flower consists of a tubular corolla, a short calyx, 10 included stamens, and a pistil with a single style. The corolla is white to pinkish white with 5 short broad teeth along its outer rim that are recurved. The calyx is light green and glabrous with 5 short broad teeth. The calyx is much shorter than the corolla. The pedicels of the flowers are light green to red and either glabrous or finely short-pubescent; they are up to ½" in length. The pedicel bases have conspicuous bracts that are light green to red, elliptic to ovate in shape, and glabrous. The blooming period occurs during late spring for about 2 weeks. Fertile flowers are replaced globoid berries that become about 1/3" (8 mm.) across at maturity. Mature berries are blue to blue-black with a white bloom; their interiors are sweet to sweet-tart and juicy, containing many tiny seeds. The root system is woody and spreading. This shrub spreads by reseeding itself. The deciduous leaves turn red during the autumn.
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Description

General: Heath family (Ericaceae). Native shrubs 2-3(-4) meters tall, crown-forming, forming dense colonies, the twigs warty and yellow-green, glabrous. Leaves deciduous, alternate, simple, narrow to broadly elliptic or ovate, 3.8-8.2 cm long, pubescent at least on the veins beneath, slightly waxy above, the edges smooth and ciliate to toothed. Flowers 8-10 in a cluster, 6-12 mm long, urn-shaped, white, with 5 petals. Fruits berries are 5-12 mm wide, blue to blue-black and many-seeded. The common name refers to the relatively tall stature of these plants.

Variation within the species: The highbush blueberry complex is highly variable and includes diploids, tetraploids, hexaploids, and various hybrid combinations. Recent studies (Vander Kloet in 1980 and 1988) have recommended treating the complex very broadly, using only the single name V. corymbosum, but not all authors have accepted that (for example, see Uttall 1986, 1987). As treated in the PLANTS database, the complex includes a group of interrelated species that have generally been recognized as “highbush” blueberries – these species* (or hybrids), with synonyms, are listed below.

* Vaccinium X atlanticum Bicknell

* Vaccinium corymbosum L.

synonym: Vaccinium constablaei Gray

* Vaccinium formosum Andr.

synonym: Vaccinium australe Small

* Vaccinium fuscatum Ait.

synonym: Vaccinium arkansanum Ashe

synonym Vaccinium atrococcum (Gray) Heller

synonym Vaccinium fuscatum Aiton

*Vaccinium simulatum Small

*Vaccinium virgatum Ait.

synonym: Vaccinium amoenum Aiton

synonym: Vaccinium ashei Reade

Highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum) hybridizes with one of the “lowbush” blueberries (V. angustifolium Ait.). Hybrids used in commercial fruit production are V. corymbosum X V. darrowi (southern highbush blueberry), (V. arboreum X V. darrowi) x V. corymbosum (pollen donor), and southern highbush blueberry hybrids X V. simulatum.

Distribution: Widespread in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario, Maine to Wisconsin, southward to South Carolina and Georgia and along the Gulf coast to Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas, and Oklahoma. It has been introduced outside of its natural range for commercial berry production in Wisconsin, Washington, British Columbia, and New Brunswick. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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Alternative names

Northern highbush blueberry, southeastern highbush blueberry, Maryland highbush blueberry, black highbush blueberry, American blueberry, New Jersey blueberry, rabbiteye blueberry, swamp blueberry, tall huckleberry, mayberry, whortleberry

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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More info for the term: natural

Highbush blueberry grows from northeastern Illinois and northern Indiana
northeastward to southwestern Nova Scotia, south to Florida, and west to
northeastern Texas and adjacent Oklahoma [24]. The species is absent or
rare in Missouri, central Ohio, western Kentucky, western Tennessee,
West Virginia, and central Pennsylvania [24]. It has been introduced
outside of its natural range for commercial berry production in
Wisconsin, Washington, British Columbia, and New Brunswick [26].
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]

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Occurrence in North America

AL AR CT DE FL GA IL IN KY LA
ME MD MA MI MS NH NJ NY NC OH
PA RI SC TN TX VT VA WA WV WI
BC NS ON PQ

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Adaptation

Highbush blueberry grows best and most commonly in moist or wet peat of moderate to high acidity – in and around marshes, swamps, and lakes, often with extended flooding, as well as on floodplains, sheltered slopes, and ravines. It also occurs in drier areas – dunes and barrier beaches, rocky hillsides, oak woods, and pine woods. It occurs as a dominant or co-dominant on Appalachian "heath balds." All of these are more or less open sites, and because of its shade intolerance, highbush blueberry can be eliminated as shading increases with overstory cover. Flowering (February-)March-June, sporadically in the southern portion of its range; fruiting (April-)May-October, about 62 days after flowering.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: shrub

Highbush blueberry is a crown-forming deciduous shrub with two to five
stems arising from a single bole. It typically grows from 6.5 to 10
feet (2-3 m) in height. The fruit is a sweet, juicy, blue-black berry
about 0.3 to 0.4 inch (7 to 10 mm) in diameter, containing several small
seeds (nutlet) about 0.05 inch (1.2 mm) long [24,26].
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]

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Type Information

Isotype for Vaccinium constablaei A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 1365352
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. Gray & J. Carey
Year Collected: 1841
Locality: Roan Mountain., North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Gray, A. 1842. Amer. J. Sci. Arts ser. 2. 42: 42.
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Isolectotype for Vaccinium simulatum Small
Catalog Number: US 770751
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): T. H. Kearney
Year Collected: 1893
Locality: Big Black Mountain, Harlan County., Harlan, Kentucky, United States, North America
  • Isolectotype: Small, J. K. 1903. Fl. S.E. U.S. 896, 1336.; Uttal, L. J. 1986. Sida. 11: 397.
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Isosyntype for Vaccinium caesariense Mack.
Catalog Number: US 647742
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): K. K. Mackenzie
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: Tom's River., Ocean, New Jersey, United States, North America
  • Isosyntype: Mackenzie, K. K. 1910. Torreya. 10: 230.
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Isolectotype for Vaccinium simulatum Small
Catalog Number: US 41033
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): T. H. Kearney
Year Collected: 1893
Locality: Big Black Mountain, Harlan County., Harlan, Kentucky, United States, North America
  • Isolectotype: Small, J. K. 1903. Fl. S.E. U.S. 896, 1336.; Uttal, L. J. 1986. Sida. 11: 397.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the term: xeric

Highbush blueberry is intolerant of shade [18]. Along the Atlantic
Coast and in the Great Lakes region, highbush blueberry is most
frequently found at relatively low elevations along the edges of swamps
and bogs; along the sandy margins of lakes, ponds, and streams; and
within open areas of moist woods [18,26]. It is less abundant in
flatwoods, gray birch (Betula populifolia) scrubland, pine barrens,
bayheads, upland ericaceous meadows, upland woods, ravines, and mountain
summits. It rarely occurs in xeric pine-oak woods and cut-over pine
savannas [26].

Highbush blueberry grows best on hummocks or raised bogs which provide
moist, acidic, well-aerated, highly-organic soils optimal for growth
[17,18]. It is typically observed on soil with pH values between 2.7
and 6.6 and where nitrogen and phosphorus are quite low [24]. Plants
can withstand extended periods of flooding [1].
  • 1. Abbott, John D.; Gough, R. E. 1987. Growth and survival of the highbush blueberry in response to root zone flooding. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 112(4): 603-608. [9850]
  • 17. Reich, Lee. 1988. Backyard blues. Organic Gardening. 35(6): 28-34. [9179]
  • 18. Rogers, Robert. 1974. Blueberries. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., compilers. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 12-15. [14073]
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: fern, hardwood, minerotrophic, peat, peatland

Highbush blueberry occupies numerous habitats but seldom occurs as
community dominant. Two habitats where it occurs as a dominant or
codominant are open swamps or bogs and high-elevation balds.

In the Appalachian Oak and Northern Hardwood Regions
highbush-blueberry-dominated thickets are common on peatlands with
strong water-level fluctuations and weakly minerotrophic water [3,12].
Thickets may also occur on a quaking mat. Codominants include swamp
azalea (Rhododendron viscosum), downy blueberry (V. attrococcum),
mountain holly (Nemopanthus mucronata), black huckleberry (Gaylussacia
baccata), cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), casandra (Chamaedaphne
calyculata), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and sheep laurel
(Kalmia angustifolia) [3,4,11,12].

Highbush blueberry codominates high elevation "heath balds" with
rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) [28].

Highbush-blueberry-dominated communities have been described in the
following publications:

Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains [28]
Community classification of the vascular vegetation of a New Hampshire
peatland [4]
The vegetation of the low-shrub bogs of northern New Jersey and adjacent
New York: ecosystems at their southern limit [12]
The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a
community profile [3]
Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years
after fire [12]
  • 11. LeBlanc, Cheryl M.; Leopold, Donald J. 1992. Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 50-64. [18208]
  • 12. Lynn, Les M.; Karlin, Eric F. 1985. The vegetation of the low-shrub bogs of northern New Jersey and adjacent New York: ecosystems at their southern limit. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 112(4): 436-444. [20276]
  • 28. Whittaker, R. H. 1956. Vegetation of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ecological Monographs. 26(1): 1-79. [11108]
  • 3. Damman, Antoni W. H.; French, Thomas W. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: a community profile. Biological Report 85(7.16). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Research and Development, National Wetlands Research Center. 100 p. [9238]
  • 4. Dunlop, D. A. 1987. Community classification of the vascular vegetation of a New Hampshire peatland. Rhodora. 89(860): 415-440. [20275]

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

More info for the term: bog

K091 Cypress savanna
K094 Conifer bog
K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest
K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest
K100 Oak - hickory forest
K104 Appalachian oak forest
K106 Northern hardwoods
K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest
K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
K109 Transition between K104 and K106
K112 Southern mixed forest
K113 Southern floodplain forest
K116 Subtropical pine forest

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES10 White - red - jack pine
FRES11 Spruce - fir
FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES18 Maple - beech - birch
FRES19 Aspen - birch

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

13 Black spruce - tamarack
16 Aspen
18 Paper birch
19 Gray birch - red maple
30 Red spruce - yellow birch
31 Red spruce - sugar maple - beech
32 Red spruce
33 Red spruce - balsam fir
34 Red spruce - Fraser fir
35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir
37 Northern white-cedar
38 Tamarack
44 Chestnut oak
45 Pitch pine
52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak
53 White oak
55 Northern red oak
59 Yellow-poplar - white oak - northern red oak
65 Pin oak - sweetgum
70 Longleaf pine
81 Loblolly pine
84 Slash pine
97 Atlantic white-cedar
100 Pondcypress
101 Baldcypress
108 Red maple
111 South Florida slash pine

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Dispersal

Establishment

Highbush blueberry produces abundant fruit every year. Bees are the primary pollinator. The seeds may be widely dispersed in bird and mammal droppings, but germination success can be reduced up to 15% after passing through an animal gut. In the southern portion of its range, highbush blueberry seeds have thick seed coats and require cold stratification before germination. Those from northern regions produce thinner seed coats and germinate in the autumn after dispersal.

Some reports describe vigorous sprouting from the root-crown in highbush blueberry after top-kill by fire or disturbance, while others note that sprouting is uncommon. This perhaps reflects the variability (and perhaps the taxonomic uncertainty) that exists within the species complex. Plants also have been noted to occasionally produce root sprouts 1-2 meters away from the parent.

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated by various bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, and Andrenid bees. These insects obtain nectar and/or pollen from the flowers. Other insects feed on High-Bush Blueberry and other blueberries in a more destructive manner. The caterpillars of several butterflies feed on either the flowers or leaves of these shrubs; these species include Callophrys augustinus (Brown Elfin), Callophrys henrici (Henry's Elfin), Colias interior (Pink-Edged Sulfur), Polygonia faunus (Green Comma), and Satyrium liparops strigosum (Striped Hairstreak). In addition, the caterpillars of such moths as Acronicta tritona (Triton Dagger Moth), Catocala gracilis (Graceful Underwing), Sphinx canadensis (Canadian Sphinx), and Xestia normaniana (Norman's Dart) feed on these shrubs; see the Moth Table for a more complete listing of these species. Other insect feeders include the beetle larvae of Oberea myops (Rhododendron Stem Borer) and Oberea tripunctata (Dogwood Twig Borer), the leaf beetles Altica sylvia and Neochlamisus cribripennis, the larvae of Dasineura oxycoccana (Blueberry Gall Midge) and Rhagoletis mendax (Blueberry Fruit Fly), Clastoptera proteus (Dogwood Spittlebug) and Clastoptera saintcyri (Heath Spittlebug), the leafhoppers Limotettix vaccinii and Scaphytopius magdalensis, and Mesolecanium nigrofasciatum (Terrapin Scale). Many vertebrate animals feed on the berries of these shrubs. Birds that feed on the berries include the Ruffed Grouse, Eastern Bluebird, Catbird, Veery, Wood Thrush, and Sandhill Crane (see the Bird Table for a more complete listing of these species).  Blueberry fruits are also eaten by many mammals, including the Black Bear,  Red Fox, Raccoon, Eastern Skunk, White-Footed Mouse, and Jumping Mouse. The twigs are browsed by the White-Tailed Deer and Cottontail Rabbit during the winter. The value of this shrub to wildlife is high.
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Foodplant / gall
Dasineura oxycoccana causes gall of Vaccinium corymbosum

Foodplant / saprobe
stromatic, single or in groups of 2-3 apothecium of Ovulinia azaleae is saprobic on Vaccinium corymbosum

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Pucciniastrum goeppertianum parasitises live Vaccinium corymbosum

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General Ecology

Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: peat, shrub, shrubs, swamp, wildfire

Severe fires may remove trees and create openings favorable for highbush
blueberry. Twenty-five years after a stand-destroying fire in a red
spruce (Picea rubens)-Fraser fir (Abies fraseri) forest at about 5,500
feet (1,676 m) elevation in North Carolina, highbush blueberry was the
dominant shrub, with over 26,300 stems per acre (65,000/ha). This
constituted 15.8 percent of total shrub stems [19]. In a central New
York shrub-carr created by a severe wildfire in 1892 which consumed over
3 feet (1 m) of peat, highbush blueberry codominated the site with
mountain holly and black chokeberry in 1986. Early photographs indicate
that shrubs dominated the site by the 1940's [11].

Burning favored highbush blueberry in the Great Dismal Swamp of
southeastern Virginia. Highbush blueberry was present on logged (2
successive cuts 1970 and 1974) and unlogged areas swept by a late summer
wildfire in 1975 which burned 12 inches (30 cm) of peat, but was not
present on control areas. Peak biomass values (g/m2/year) for highbush
blueberry 1 to 2 years after burning were as follows [14]:

cut-burned area uncut-burned area control area
11.31 66.52 0
  • 11. LeBlanc, Cheryl M.; Leopold, Donald J. 1992. Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 50-64. [18208]
  • 14. McKinley, Carol E.; Day, Frank P., Jr. 1979. Herbaceous production in cut- burned, uncut-burned, and control areas of a Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) BSP (Cupressaceae) stand in the Great Dismal Swamp. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 106(1): 20-28. [41796]
  • 19. Saunders, Paul R.; Smathers, Garrett A.; Ramseur, George S. 1983. Secondary succession of a spruce-fir burn in the Plott Balsam Mountains, North Carolina. Castanea. 48(1): 41-47. [8658]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: root crown, secondary colonizer, shrub

Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown
Secondary colonizer - off-site seed

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: swamp

Highbush blueberry is not rhizomatous [25]. Little quantitative
information has been written about its sprouting ability; what has been
reported appears contradictory .

Vander Kloet [24] described highbush blueberry as crown forming shrubs
from a single bole that occasionally sucker "when disturbed or burnt."
Describing V. ashei [V. corymbosum] Camp [2] stated that the species
occurs where protected from fire and that "the ease by which various of
its forms are killed by fire may explain their apparent scarcity today
in certain areas where they might be expected." These authors indicate
that highbush blueberry is not a vigorous sprouter following fire.
However, a study by LeBlanc and Leopold [11] in a central New York
shrubby swamp thicket indicates that highbush blueberry is a good
sprouter following disturbance. Two years after stems were cut at
ground level, highbush blueberry sprouts averaged 6.9 inches (17.4 cm)
in height. LeBlanc and Leopold concluded that this population of
highbush blueberry was being maintained through sprout recruitment.
Thus, at least at this central New York site, highbush blueberry is a
vigorous sprouter following disturbance.

Fire may create shade-free environments favorable for highbush blueberry
growth. It seems probable that highbush blueberry seeds would be
dispersed onto burned sites in animal droppings.
  • 11. LeBlanc, Cheryl M.; Leopold, Donald J. 1992. Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 50-64. [18208]
  • 2. Camp, W. H. 1945. The North American blueberries with notes on other groups of Vacciniaceae. Brittonia. 5(3): 203-275. [9515]
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 25. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1982. A note on the occurrence of root-shoots in Vaccinium corymbosum L. Rhodora. 84: 447-450. [20279]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: cover, peat, shrub, shrubs, succession, swamp

Because of its shade-intolerance, highbush blueberry is restricted to
open swamps and bogs, lakeshores and streamsides, open woods, and
high-elevation balds. Such habitats represent intermediate stages of
succession. Highbush blueberry can be eliminated from sites as
overstory cover and shading increase. In shrub bogs in northern
Illinois, highbush blueberry was largely replaced by the shading and
competitive effects of glossy-leaved buckthorn (Rhamnus framgula) [22].

Fire can be an important factor in creating shade-free environments for
highbush blueberry. A shrub-carr in New York codominated by mountain
holly and highbush blueberry was created by a severe swamp fire in 1892
which consumed over 3 feet (1 m) of peat. Although this shrub community
represents an intermediate stage of succession between wet meadow and
forested wetland, it is relatively stable. Size and age structure of
the two dominant shrubs in 1986 showed an inverse j-shaped distribution
indicative of self-maintaining populations; the dense shrub community
is only slowly progressing to black spruce (Picea mariana) and tamarack
(Larix laricina) [11].
  • 11. LeBlanc, Cheryl M.; Leopold, Donald J. 1992. Demography and age structure of a central New York shrub-carr 94 years after fire. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 119(1): 50-64. [18208]
  • 22. Taft, John B.; Solecki, Mary Kay. 1990. Vascular flora of the wetland and prairie communities of Gavin Bog and Prairie Nature Preserve, Lake County, Illinois. Rhodora. 92(871): 142-165. [14522]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: shrubs

Highbush blueberry primarily reproduces from seed. Bees are the primary
pollinator. It typically produces abundant fruit annually. In Florida,
5-foot-tall (1.5 m) shrubs annually produc an average of 231,000 ovules,
of which about 11 percent (25,410) develop into seeds [26]. Mature,
commercially grown 8- to 10-year-old plants often yield 8 to 10 pints of
fruit per year [18].

Highbush blueberry seeds are dispersed in the droppings of frugivorous
birds and mammals. Long-distance dispersal is rare because most animals
which consume highbush blueberries are territorial. Even when fruit
ripening coincides with migration of songbirds, dispersal distances are
short because berry pulp rarely stays in the gut of cropless birds for
more than 20 minutes [26]. In the southern portion of its range,
highbush blueberry fruits are dispersed sporadically from late March
through June. These seeds have thick seed coats and require cold
stratification before germination can occur [21]. Germination typically
occurs in the winter following spring dispersal. In contrast, plants of
northern latitudes have thinner seed coats and germinate in the autumn
shortly after dispersal [27,29].

In Florida, highbush blueberry averaged 16 seeds per berry, of which 57
percent germinated when placed in an illuminated misting chamber [26].
Germination percent is reduced at least 15 percent after passing through
the digestive system of a bird or mammal [9].

Vegetative regeneration: Highbush blueberry rarely produces rhizomes
except in a few isolated populations in the Florida panhandle, on
isolated mountain peaks in North Carolina and Tennessee, and in eastern
Quebec where it introgresses with low sweet blueberry [25]. Layering
has been observed only in populations in Ontario and Quebec [26]. When
"disturbed or burnt" the plant occasionally produces new plants from
root sprouts 3 to 6 feet (1-2 m) away from the parent [26].
  • 18. Rogers, Robert. 1974. Blueberries. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., compilers. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 12-15. [14073]
  • 21. Stushnoff, Cecil; Hough, L. Fredric. 1968. Response of blueberry seed germination to temperature, light, potassium nitrate and coumarin. Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 93: 260-266. [18679]
  • 25. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1982. A note on the occurrence of root-shoots in Vaccinium corymbosum L. Rhodora. 84: 447-450. [20279]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]
  • 27. Vander Kloet, S. P.; Austin-Smith, P. J. 1986. Energetics, patterns and timing of seed dispersal in Vaccinium section Cyanococcus. American Midland Naturalist. 115: 386-396. [12523]
  • 29. Crouch, P. A.; Vander Koet, S. P. 1980. Variation in seed characters of Vaccinium subsection Cyanococcus (the blueberries) in relation to latitude. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 84-90. [20274]
  • 9. Krefting, Laurits W.; Roe, Eugene I. 1949. The role of some birds and mammals in seed germination. Ecological Monographs. 19(3): 269-286. [8847]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

In the southern portion of its range, highbush blueberry flowers
sporadically over a 2- to 3-month period. North of latitude 44 degrees
N., flowering is synchronous and lasts a maximum of 25 days [24].
Flowers open as the leaves unfold or rarely when the leaves are half
developed [21]. Fruiting begins about 62 days after flowering and is
thus asynchronous in the south and synchronous in the north. Vander
Kloet and Austin-Smith [27] speculate that the fruit ripening patterns
of highbush blueberry may be related to the nutritional needs of avian
seed dispersers. Mass fruiting in the north occurs in summer when avian
dispersers are numerous.

Beginning of anthesis is as follows [24]:

south Florida - mid-February
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, northern Florida - March
Piedmont - early April
Appalachians and Ouachitas - late April to early May
Carolinas - late March to early April
Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey - late April to early May
Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, New England - early to late May
southern Ontario, Michigan - mid-May to early June
eastern Ontario, Quebec - early June to late June
southwestern Nova Scotia - mid-June

Fruit ripening is as follows [24]:

Florida - early April until November
Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina - May to June, but not until
August in the mountains
Michigan to Quebec, New York and New England - July and August
  • 21. Stushnoff, Cecil; Hough, L. Fredric. 1968. Response of blueberry seed germination to temperature, light, potassium nitrate and coumarin. Proceedings of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 93: 260-266. [18679]
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 27. Vander Kloet, S. P.; Austin-Smith, P. J. 1986. Energetics, patterns and timing of seed dispersal in Vaccinium section Cyanococcus. American Midland Naturalist. 115: 386-396. [12523]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Vaccinium corymbosum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vaccinium corymbosum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Rank provided by Alan Weakley during Eastern Heritage Conference in Nov/94.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Rank provided by Alan Weakley during Eastern Heritage Conference in Nov/94.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Rank provided by Alan Weakley during Eastern Heritage Conference in Nov/94.

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Management

Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

These plant materials are readily available from commercial sources. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Seeds or cuttings can propagate plants of highbush blueberry. Ideal soil for cultivation is moist, high in organic matter, highly acidic (4.5-5.5), and well drained. The plants grow in full sun to partial shade, but those in open sites produce more flowers and have brighter fall foliage color. Highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum) is self-fertile, but cross-pollination increases fruit set and results in larger, earlier berries with more seeds (see Agriculture Western Australia 2000). Other species of the complex are partially or completely self-incompatible.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, wet to moist conditions, and an acidic soil that is peaty or sandy.
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Nutritional Value

More info for the term: natural

The principal components of highbush blueberry berries are water,
sugars, crude proteins, vitamins, fats (in seeds), and fiber [26]. They
are a good source of vitamin C and natural sugars and contain moderate
amounts of trace minerals and other vitamins [17]. One-half cup of
berries contains 41 calories, 1.96 grams of dietary fiber, and 9.6 mg of
vitamin C [17].

Vander Kloet and Austin-Smith [27] reported that seed and pulp energy
varied considerably among highbush blueberries from three geographic
locations. Northern plants produced fruit with low seed energy and high
pulp energy, while southern plants produced fruit with high seed energy
and low pulp energy. Mean pulp caloric values for three populations
varied as follows:

Florida - 52 calories/berry
Nova Scotia - 141 calories/berry
Ontario - 184 calories/berry
  • 17. Reich, Lee. 1988. Backyard blues. Organic Gardening. 35(6): 28-34. [9179]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]
  • 27. Vander Kloet, S. P.; Austin-Smith, P. J. 1986. Energetics, patterns and timing of seed dispersal in Vaccinium section Cyanococcus. American Midland Naturalist. 115: 386-396. [12523]

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Other uses and values

Highbush blueberry fruit was eaten by Native Americans. Leaves and
flowers were used for various medicinal purposes [26].

Highbush blueberry is one of the most agriculturally important
blueberries of North America. It is extensively cultivated in New
Jersey, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington and to a lesser extent
in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York,
Massachusetts, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia [26].
In 1989, there were over 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) in commercial
highbush blueberry production in North America [8]. Berry yields in
commercial fields often average 2 to 2.5 tons per acre (4.5-5.5 t/ha)
[8]. Since the 1920's, more than 50 highbush cultivars have been
developed [26].
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]
  • 8. Hancock, James F.; Draper, Arlen D. 1989. Blueberry culture in North America. HortScience. 24(4): 551-556. [9513]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Blueberry fruits provide important summer and early fall food for
numerous species of birds. In the Southeast, blueberries are a
preferred summer food of wild turkey, ruffed grouse, and quail [26]. As
much as 19 percent of the summer diet of quail may consist of
blueberries [26]. Songbirds which feed heavily on the fruits of
highbush blueberry include the scarlet tanager, eastern bluebird, scrub
jay, rufous-sided towhee, gray catbird, northern mockingbird, brown
thrasher, northern cardinal, and the American robin and several other
thrushes [18,26,27].

Mammals that often consume blueberries include the black bear, red fox,
cottontail, fox squirrel, white-footed mouse, and skunks and chipmunks
[13,18].
  • 13. Sampson, Arthur W.; Chase, Agnes; Hedrick, Donald W. 1951. California grasslands and range forage grasses. Bull. 724. Berkeley, CA: University of California College of Agriculture, California Agricultural Experiment Station. 125 p. [2052]
  • 18. Rogers, Robert. 1974. Blueberries. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., compilers. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 12-15. [14073]
  • 26. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America. Publication 1828. Ottawa: Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. 201 p. [11436]
  • 27. Vander Kloet, S. P.; Austin-Smith, P. J. 1986. Energetics, patterns and timing of seed dispersal in Vaccinium section Cyanococcus. American Midland Naturalist. 115: 386-396. [12523]

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Uses

Highbush blueberry is the major blueberry of commerce. It is extensively cultivated in New Jersey, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington and to a lesser extent in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. In 1989, there were over 100,000 acres in commercial fruit production in North America. More than 50 cultivars highbush blueberry have been developed, primarily based on selections for commercially valuable fruit characteristics and seasonality. Good summaries of information relating to commercial fruit production are available (see Reiger 2000; Garrison 1998). A few selections are used in landscaping, especially where they might be planted in wet places and to attract wildlife.

The berries are eaten raw, smoke­dried, sun-dried, boiled, and baked -- in a wide variety of culinary settings. They have one of the highest concentrations of iron of the temperate fruits. The fruits provide important summer and early fall food for numerous species of game birds, songbirds, and mammals.

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Wikipedia

Vaccinium corymbosum

Vaccinium corymbosum, the northern highbush blueberry, is a species of blueberry native to eastern North America, from the Great Lakes region east to Nova Scotia, and south through the Northeastern United States and Appalachian region, to the Southeastern United States in Mississippi.[1][2] Other common names include blue huckleberry, tall huckleberry, swamp huckleberry, high blueberry, and swamp blueberry.[3]

Description[edit]

Vaccinium corymbosum is a deciduous shrub growing to 6–12 feet (1.8–3.7 m) tall and wide. It is often found in dense thickets. The dark glossy green leaves are elliptical and up to 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long. In autumn, the leaves turn to a brilliant red, orange, yellow, and/or purple.[2]

The flowers are long bell or urn-shaped white to very light pink, 0.33 inches (8.4 mm) long.[2]

The fruit is a 0.25–0.5 inches (6.4–12.7 mm) diameter blue-black berry.[2] This plant is found in wooded or open areas with moist acidic soils.[4]

Cultivation[edit]

These berries were collected and used in Native American cuisine in areas where V. corymbosum grew as a native plant.[5] This plant is also the most common commercially grown blueberry in present day North America.

It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant for home and wildlife gardens and natural landscaping projects.[4][6] The pH must be very acidic (4.5 to 5.5).[2] In natural habitats it is a food source for native and migrating birds, bears, and small mammals.

Outside of its natural range in North America, Vaccinium corymbosum has naturalized in British Columbia and the U.S. state of Washington.[7] On other continents it has naturalized in Japan, New Zealand, Great Britain, Poland, and the Netherlands.[7]

Cultivars[edit]

Some common cultivar varieties are listed here, grouped by approximate start of the harvest season:[8]

Early
  • Duke
  • Patriot      
  • Reka
  • Spartan
Mid-Season
  • Bluecrop      
  • Blu-ray
  • KaBluey
  • Northland
Late
  • Aurora
  • Darrow
  • Elliott
  • Jersey

The cultivars Duke[9] and Spartan[10] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Southern highbush blueberry[edit]

Some named southern highbush blueberries are hybridized forms derived from crosses between V. corymbosum and Vaccinium darrowii, a native of the Southeastern U.S. These hybrids and other cultivars of V. darrowii (Southern highbush blueberry) have been developed for cultivation in warm southern and western regions of North America.[11][12]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Vaccinium caesariense

Vaccinium caesariense, New Jersey Blueberry, is native to the Eastern United States. It is a species in the genus Vaccinium, which includes blueberries, cranberries, huckleberry, and bilberries, all flowering plants or angiosperms.

Range[edit]

Vaccinium caesariense is a native perennial plant in the Eastern United States, and is especially prominent in the New Jersey area, hence its common name New Jersey Blueberry. It is most commonly found in the following states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.[1]

Description[edit]

Vaccinium caesariense has simple, small, oval green leaves during the summer and loses its leaves in the winter. This dicot exhibits a shurb growth habit, meaning this perennial, multi-stemmed woody plant is not likely to grow larger than 5 meters in height, particularly due to its numerous steming arrangements.

Cultivation[edit]

In commercial cultivation of Vaccinium caesariense, they are usually planted at the beginning of Fall or the end of Winter, with organic fertilizers such as manure compost and vermicompost.[2] As the plants develop woody stems irrigation is only needed during very dry periods. The cultivated plants are grown in soil that is accommodating to acidophilic plants.[2]

History[edit]

The blueberry is one of the few fruits eaten in North America that is native to the continent. Native Americans harvested the wild blueberries. Their special use in the plant is its function as a dye, coloring items. It is also known as a medication for ailing stomach issues.[1] The tribes of the Lenape were well known in their use of the blackberry for these purposes. Early Euro-American immigrant settlers began incorporating the fruit as an ingredient in foods and as a medicine.

In New Jersey[edit]

New Jersey has developed environmental and agricultural programs to protect and develop the New Jersey Blueberry, such as the Blueberry Plant Certification Program and the Phillip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry & Cranberry Research & Extension.

Proclamation[edit]

The New Jersey legislature issued a Proclamation for its native plant:[3]

  • "Whereas, The highbush blueberry is indigenous to New Jersey, where it was first cultivated for commercial production, due to pioneering work by New Jerseyan Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville, who in the early 1900s dedicated themselves to the study, domestication, and breeding of blueberries at Whitesbog, in Browns Mills, New Jersey; and
  • Whereas, the cultivation of highbush blueberries in New Jersey served as the basis for an entirely new agricultural industry; and
  • Whereas, Blueberries taste good, are good for you, are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, are sodium and cholesterol-free, are low in calories and provide medical and health benefits, including the prevention of cancer and heart disease; and
  • Whereas, Blueberries are appreciated around the world, especially in the area of nutrition and the emerging field of nutraceuticals, where blueberries are known for their health benefits and medicinal properties; and
  • Whereas, New Jersey ranks second in the nation in blueberry cultivation, producing 21% of the nation's total, with 38 million pounds grown annually on 8,000 acres, spanning seven counties in central and southern New Jersey; and
  • Whereas, New Jersey is widely recognized as the blueberry capital of the nation, and the highbush blueberry, also known as the "New Jersey blueberry," is the ideal symbol of a delicious, nutritious, and healthful fruit ..."

New Jersey hybrid[edit]

Although the species is still found growing in natural habitats, most of New Jersey's cultivated blueberries are a hybrid Highbush type. It was first developed by Elizabeth Coleman White, the daughter of a cranberry farmer, and introduced in Whitesbog, Burlington County, New Jersey. During harvest season, New Jersey farmers set up road-side farm stands and sell the fresh blueberries. The hybrid fruit, when frozen, maintains quality and taste upon thawing.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Vaccinium caesarense". PLANTS Profile. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "New Jersey blueberry, Vaccinium caesariense Mackenzie". Gardening.eu. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
  3. ^ "State Fruit of New Jersey: Highbush Blueberry". State Symbols USA. Retrieved September 13, 2010. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: G4?Q Rank provided by Alan Weakley (ERO) during Eastern Heritage Conf. Nov/94. Part of corymbosum-related taxa with difficult taxonomy.

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Synonyms

Cyanococcus corymbosus (L.) Rydb.
Vaccinium constablaei Gray
Vaccinium corymbosum L. var. albiflorum (Hook.) Fernald
Vaccinium corymbosum L. var. glabrum A. Gray

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The currently accepted scientific name of highbush blueberry is
Vaccinium corymbosum L. (Ericaceae)[24]. It is a member of the
true blueberry section Cyanococcus.

The highbush blueberry complex is highly variable and includes diploids,
tetraploids, hexaploids, and various hybrid combinations [7,24]. It has
long been a subject of taxonomic confusion and controversy; numerous
taxonomic treatments have been proposed. Named hybrids include:

Vaccinium atlanticum Bicknell, Atlantic blueberry

Highbush blueberry also hybridizes with low sweet blueberry (V.
angustifolium) [24].
  • 24. Vander Kloet, S. P. 1980. The taxonomy of the highbush blueberry, Vaccinium corymbosum. Canadian Journal of Botany. 58: 1187-1201. [20278]
  • 7. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239]

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Common Names

highbush blueberry
high-bush blueberry
northern highbush blueberry
tall blueberry
rabbiteye blueberry

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