Black Blueberry

Black_Blueberry_jpgThis family (Ericaceae) commonly called the Heath family consists of 103 genera and 3,350 species of shrubs, lianas, and small trees; found in temperate, cool and subtropical regions and in tropical mountains.  Twenty-five to 35 species are native to the United States.  Members of this family are of great horticultural and gastronomic interest, including Rhododendron, Azaleas, Heathers and Cranberries, Blueberries and Bilberries.  The family name “Heath” is from the Greek eike, and the Latin Erica. The Black Blueberry was the first domesticated blueberry.  The research was conducted at Whitesbog in eastern Burlington County, New Jersey.  Miss E. White and Dr. Coville created the first domestic blueberries in 1916 at Whitesbog, New Jersey.Black Blueberry, like other Blueberries, is edible as a fresh fruit or dried fruit or made into jelly or jam.  It can also be used to add favor to pastry. Like many other members of the Heath Family, Blueberries prefer acid soil.  They are found most commonly in open woods or in clearings. Blueberries are important to American wildlife.  The fruit is eaten by several species of birds, small mammals and hoofed browsers.  For several species of grouse, blueberries are among the most important summer and early fall foods.  They are also important to the scarlet tanager, bluebirds, thrushes and other songbirds.  Deer and rabbits browse freely on the plants.

OtherCommonName:

Black Highbush Blueberry

ScientificName:

Vaccinium atrococcum -- Some botanists frequently consider atrococcum as a variety of V. corymbosum

Community:

Thicket

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Woody Shrub

PlantHeight:

to 8 feet

FruitingTime:

July to August

Distribution:

Massachusetts to Florida ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

April to Mid-June

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Leaves different from other high bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) in having downy or woolly leaves, sharply serrate, firm texture, conspicuous veins, green, hairless ~ Berry black, dull to shinny ~ Flower bell shaped, pink to white, borne in clusters ~ Twigs green in summer