General: Heath Family (Ericaceae). This erect, evergreen shrub is stout, from 0.5-3 m tall. The glossy green leaf blades are 2-5 cm, ovate, leathery, serrate, with glandular hairs on the lower surface. The umbel-like inflorescence emerges from the leaf axils. Urn-shaped flowers are bright pink. The berries are 6-9 mm, purplish-black. Evergreen huckleberry does not generally root easily.
California huckleberry, shot huckleberry, huckleberry, winter huckleberry, evergreen huckleberry
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Occurrence in North America
Columbia to central California [8,21,58]. It is rare in the Cascades
but grows throughout the Coast Ranges and the central Sierra Nevada
[9,21]. Evergreen huckleberry occurs sporadically in the higher
mountains of southern California [9,28]. The variety saporosum is
restricted to portions of California .
Regional Distribution in the Western United States
This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):
1 Northern Pacific Border
3 Southern Pacific Border
4 Sierra Mountains
For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Evergreen huckleberry grows from the west side of the Cascades in Washington to the coast of British Columbia, to the redwood area of California. It is sporadic south to Santa Barbara, California and in the coast ranges to the central Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Evergreen huckleberry is a much-branched, stout erect, or semispreading
evergreen shrub [28,40,51] which reaches 1.5 to 15 feet (0.5-4.6 m) in
height [34,39]. Plants often become spindly and clambering with
extremes of either moisture or shade . Twigs are reddish-brown and
covered with short hairs [21,39]. Stem morphology has been examined in
detail . Plants often possess a "massive" root crown which comprises
up to 15.4 percent of the total belowground biomass . Belowground
biomass is distributed as follows :
root crown 15.4 percent
lateral roots 5.0 percent
taproot 79.6 percent
Numerous, alternate leaves are thick, leathery, and ovate to
oblong-lanceolate [21,27,51]. Leaves are rounded at the base but acute
at the apex . The upper surface is shiny, glossy, and dark green,
whereas the underside is dull and paler [34,40,51]. Leaves typically
have serrate margins .
The fragrant, bell-shaped flowers are pink to whitish [34,51,57].
Flowers are borne at the leaf axils in clusters of 3 to 10 and are
primarily pollinated by long-tongued bees such as bumblebees [21,27,39].
Floral morphology has been examined in detail . Fruit is a small,
broadly ovoid to spherical berry [39,40,49,51]. Berries of evergreen
huckleberry are shiny, purplish to black and generally lack bloom
[9,27,57]. Berries are borne in large clusters located close to the
branches [21,39] and contain numerous small seeds .
The variety saporosum is distinguished by fruit which is glaucous, pear-
shaped, and more flavorful than that of the variety ovatum .
Evergreen huckleberry grows on dry slopes, in canyons, and on barren
ridges near the Pacific Coast [40,41,51]. It occurs on well-drained
microsites on both stabilized and active dunes of the northern Oregon
Coast and on steep slopes which face the ocean [15,26]. It commonly
forms dense thickets on open ridges in the fog belt of California .
Evergreen huckleberry is tolerant of both sun and shade .
Soil: Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) require acidic conditions and can
thrive where pH ranges from 4.3 to 5.2 . These shrubs require
relatively small amounts of many essential elements and are capable of
growing on many relatively infertile soils . Evergreen huckleberry
commonly occurs on nitrogen-poor soils . It grows on well-drained
sandy and gravelly soils, and on silty loam [21,56], but generally
reaches greatest abundance on sandy soils . Evergreen huckleberry
occurs on soils derived from a number of parent materials including
diorite, granodiorite, gabbro, and olivine-gabbro [50,66]. In the
Klamath Mountains, it typically occurs on soils derived from granitic or
metamorphic parent materials .
Climate: Evergreen huckleberry grows across a wide range of moisture
regimes . Many sites are droughty, or are characterized by summer
soil moisture stress [19,21]. In coastal British Columbia, evergreen
huckleberry occurs in mesothermal climatic zones characterized by wet,
cool summers .
Elevation: Evergreen huckleberry occurs from near sea level to 3,000
feet (0-914 m) . Generalized elevational ranges are as follows
< 2,500 feet (762 m) in CA
from 0 to 300 feet (0-91 m) in western Oregon
Key Plant Community Associations
Evergreen huckleberry grows as an understory dominant or codominant in
certain mature Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and western redcedar
(Thuja plicata) forests of the Northwest. It also occurs in coastal
headland shrub communities codominated by species such as Pacific
rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), poison-oak (Toxicodendron
diversilobum), and salal (Gaultheria shallon).
Evergreen huckleberry also occurs as an understory dominant in humid
coastal Port-Orford cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), Douglas-fir, and
in redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) communities which develop on broad
alluvial flats [12,41,54,55,62,64]. It is a characteristic understory
component of western hemlock-Sitka spruce communities which occur along
the coast of northern Oregon . Evergreen huckleberry grows in pygmy
forests of California beneath species such as lodgepole pine (P.
contorta), Monterey cypress (Cupressus pygmaea), bishop pine (P.
muricata), and Monterey pine (P. radiata) [63,65]. It commonly assumes
a dwarfed, nearly herblike growth form in these forests [63,65].
Evergreen huckleberry persists on cutover sites in many areas where it
forms brushfields [18,34].
This shrub is a prominent component of California and Oregon mixed
evergreen forests dominated by species such as tanoak (Lithocarpus
densiflora), canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis), sugar pine (Pinus
lambertiana), Douglas-fir, and Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii). It
commonly grows as an understory dominant on north-facing slopes or along
rocky streamside terraces .
Understory associates: Common understory associates include salal, red
huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), western swordfern (Polystichum
munitum), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), Pacific rhododendron, hazel
(Corylus cornuta), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), bog Labrador tea
(Ledum glandulosa), ovalleaf huckleberry (V. ovalifolium), deer fern
(Blechnum spicant), and annual grasses [26,50,54,55,62,66].
Thimbleberry, salal, salmonberry (R. spectabilis), vine maple (Acer
circinatum), and hazel are particularly common brushfield associates
Publications listing it as an indicator or codominant species in
community types or plant associations are presented below.
Preliminary plant associations of the Siskiyou Mountain Province 
The tanoak series of the Siskiyou Mountain Province 
Vegetation and habitats 
Natural vegetation of Oregon and Washington 
Ecoclass coding system for the Pacific Northwest plant associations 
Plant association and management guide: Siulaw National Forest 
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):
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
Habitat: Cover Types
This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):
218 Lodgepole pine
223 Sitka spruce
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock - Sitka spruce
227 Western redcedar - western hemlock
229 Pacific Douglas-fir
230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock
231 Port Orford cedar
234 Douglas-fir - tanoak - Pacific madrone
Habitat: Plant Associations
This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):
K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest
K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir - hemlock forest
K006 Redwood forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K029 California mixed evergreen forest
Adaptation: Vaccinium ovatum grows in edges and clearings of coniferous woods, at elevations from 3-800 m. Evergreen huckleberry can also be found near beaches in the salt spray zone. This huckleberry grows in moist to slightly dry soils. It will grow in full sun to full shade, although the plants prefer some shade.
Propagation: Evergreen huckleberry can be difficult to propagate or transplant, but it is available in some nurseries. It can be grown from cuttings, from seed, or by layering. Huckleberry cuttings should be taken while the plant is dormant, from November to April. Their rooting success is fairly sporadic.
Evergreen huckleberry requires excessive drainage and acidic soils to become established. It does best in full or partial shade; it may tolerate morning and winter sun.
Live Plant Collections: Evergreen huckleberry is propagated by cuttings from fully matured shoots taken in fall and winter, when the plant is dormant. Cuttings made from the previous year's growth taken the third week in April rooted 100% (Vancouver, B.C.). Application of 0.3 to 0.4% IBA talc to the freshly cut stem surface and basal heat (21°C; 70° F) to potted plants will enhance rooting.
Young plants can be salvaged, but they should be transplanted when they are less than one foot tall. Frequently, these small plants will turn out to be new shoots of a mature plant reviving from deer browsing or logging, and will die from lack of roots.
Seed Collections: Berries should be collected when they are ripe (from August to September or later). The blue-black fruit is easily collected by hand picking or by beating the bush over a large bucket. Following collection, chill the fruit at 10°C for several days. Clean seeds by macerating and floating off the pulp and unsound seed. Clean seeds carefully; they are minuscule, so you may want to use pantyhose or cheesecloth to strain the seed from the pulp.
Seeds dried at 15-21°C for two days can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 12 years. Fresh seeds not planted in the fall may germinate better if cold stratified for 1-3 months. Stored seeds germinates well when exposed to alternating temperature and light regimes of 28°C light for 14 hours a day and 13°C dark for 10 hours.
Fresh or stored and cold-stratified seeds can be sown directly into flats or small pots (a salt shaker can be used for sowing). Plant in a mixture of sand and peat moss. Seedlings will begin to emerge in a month and will continue to emerge for a long period thereafter. Transplant seedlings into larger pots 6 to 7 weeks after emergence. Plant outside after the first growing season. Seedlings are slow growing, and it may take 2-3 years for a nursery-sized plant to develop.
Fire Management Considerations
Wildlife: Evidence suggests that fire suppression may be having an
adverse impact on bear habitat in some areas [59,67]. Once productive
seral berry fields are now being invaded by conifers. Since plants
beneath a forest canopy generally produce few berries, fruit production
has been steadily declining . Logging treatments which include
severe soil scarification or slash burns may also reduce berry yields.
Even where timber harvest favors berry production, lack of cover in
early years can limit bear use. However, wildfires often create diverse
habitat mosaics  which incorporate elements of hiding cover and
favor bear use.
Prescribed fire: Flower buds tend to be more numerous on new shoots,
and periodic removal of old shoots can increase flower and fruit
production in many species of huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) .
Prescribed fire has long been used to rejuvenate commercial low sweet
blueberry (V. angustifolium) fields and to increase fruit yield [37,39].
Spring burns, conducted when the soil is moist, are generally most
effective in promoting huckleberry fruit production [37,68].
Berry production: Berry production in most western huckleberries is
generally delayed for at least 5 years after fire . On some sites,
production may be reduced for 20 to 30 years or longer .
Plant Response to Fire
Vegetative response: Evergreen huckleberry commonly sprouts after
aboveground foliage is damaged or destroyed by fire [29,32,34]. Most
species of huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.) regenerate from basal sprouts or
from underground structures such as roots or rhizomes . Westman and
Whittaker  report that evergreen huckleberry has a "massive
root crown" rather than rhizomes. However, Hooven  notes that
postfire sprouting from roots can also occur.
Recovery of evergreen huckleberry can be relatively rapid wherever
sprouting occurs. Evergreen huckleberry, Pacific dogwood (Cornus
nuttallii), vine maple, trailing blackberry (Rubus ursinus), Oregon
grape (Berberis spp.), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) dominated
within 1 year after a large August fire in a Douglas-fir forest of
western Oregon .
Seed: Seed banking does not appear to represent an important
regenerative strategy in western huckleberries. Some seed may be
brought onto the site by bird and mammal dispersers. Reestablishment by
seed, if it occurs at all, is likely to be slow.
Immediate Effect of Fire
portions of evergreen huckleberry often survive [32,34]. Most western
huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) appear to be particularly vulnerable to
hot, duff-consuming fires . However, older, decadent individuals
can sometimes be rejuvenated by light fires which do not damage
underground regenerative structures [37,39]. Seeds of most
huckleberries are susceptible to heat and are presumably killed by fire
Tall shrub, adventitious-bud root crown
Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil
Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)
The role of fire in moist coastal forests, of which evergreen
huckleberry is an integral understory component, is poorly known .
Many sites currently occupied by this shrub are believed to have burned
at relatively infrequent intervals during presettlement times .
Consequently, specific adaptations to fire may be poorly developed in
this species. Evergreen huckleberry often sprouts after disturbances
such as fire, but sprouting may primarily represent an adaptation to
herbivory or mechanical damage.
Evergreen huckleberry can sprout from structures such as roots or
root crowns after aboveground vegetation is destroyed by fire [29,65].
Limited seedling establishment may occasionally occur as birds and
mammals disperse seed from offsite. However, it is important to note
that seedling establishment is rare in most western huckleberries
(Vaccinium spp.) .
More info for the terms: climax, cover
Evergreen huckleberry is tolerant of shade and persists in many climax
stands but also grows in early seral communities. In parts of Oregon
and Washington, it occurs in climax forests dominated by western hemlock
and Douglas-fir [15,32]. Evergreen huckleberry is also a common
constituent of both dry and moist old growth redwood communities of
southwestern Oregon .
In coastal forests of southwestern Oregon, it is most abundant in
disturbed stands . Cover of evergreen huckleberry by successional
stage, has been documented as follows in a rhododendron (Rhododendron
spp.)-Oregon grape (Berberis spp.) habitat type :
mean percent cover
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8-9 10-15
undisturbed 15 2 6 11 13 1 5 9 1
disturbed 3 + _ + + 1 - + +
Evergreen huckleberry is capable of reproducing through seed or by
vegetative means. However, vegetative regeneration appears to be of
primary importance in most western huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) .
Seed: Evergreen huckleberry, a cluster-fruited Vaccinium, can produce
10 to 20 times more fruit than single-fruited huckleberries of similar
size . Fruit is typically produced in great abundance whenever
conditions are favorable [51,57]. Seeds of most Vaccinium spp. are not
dormant and require no pretreatment for germination . Seedlings
first emerge in approximately 1 month and continue to emerge for long
periods of time in the absence of cold stratification . However,
seedlings of most western huckleberries are rarely observed in the field
. Seeds of evergreen huckleberry usually exhibit fairly good
germination under laboratory conditions, but early growth is generally
very slow . Berries are widely dispersed by birds and mammals .
Vegetative regeneration: Sprouting has been well-documented in
evergreen huckleberry [32,34], but specific details are lacking. Most
species of Vaccinium regenerate from basal sprouts or underground
regenerative structures such as roots or rhizomes . Root  or
rhizome sprouting is probable in the evergreen huckleberry. However,
Westman and Whittaker  report that unlike most other western
huckleberries, evergreen huckleberry lacks rhizomes. It reportedly
possesses a well-developed root crown  and sprouts from this
structure after aboveground vegetation is damaged.
Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire
prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant species, including
Life History and Behavior
Evergreen huckleberry generally flowers from March to July or August
[9,27]. Fruit ripens from July to September [9,61]. Seasonal
development by geographic area is as follows [9,21,40,49,56]:
location flowering fruiting
CA March-May July-October
Mason Co., WA May-June ----
Pacific Northwest April-August ----
w OR April-August ----
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Vaccinium ovatum
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
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.
Chemical control: Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) exhibit variable
susceptibility to herbicides such as 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, glyphosate,
karbutilate, and picloram .
Mechanical removal: Large amounts of evergreen huckleberry foliage are
harvest annually for use in floral arrangements. Gratkowski 
observed that shrubs produce new growth after pruning and are not
significantly reduced by these activities. However, Kruckeberg 
reports that in some areas, evergreen huckleberry "has been exploited by
Timber harvest: Evergreen huckleberry often persists after logging .
It is a particularly common constituent of brushfields which develop
after timber harvest in the Coast Ranges of Washington and Oregon and in
the foothills of the Washington Cascades [18,24]. Evergreen huckleberry
is frequently dwarfed to 3 to 5 feet (0.9-1.5 m) in height on cutover
lands because of excessive exposure to sun .
Conifer regeneration: Evergreen huckleberry, western swordfern
(Polystichum munitum), beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), and salal can
provide some initial competition for regenerating conifers after timber
harvest on certain sites .
Wildlife considerations: Huckleberries are an extremely important food
source for grizzly bears . Both black and grizzly bears typically
exploit areas with dense concentrations of berries. The habitat value
of huckleberry shrubfields to grizzly bears can be increased by
permanent or at least seasonal road closures, by coordinating timber
harvest dates to have minimal impact on habitat use patterns, and by
considering the cumulative effects of habitat modification across a
broad area. In general, site preparation should include minimizing soil
compaction, using broadcast burns rather than hot slash burns, or by
eliminating site preparation entirely wherever possible. Grizzly use is
favored where hiding cover is retained by treating small, irregular
patches instead of large contiguous areas, and by leaving stringers of
timber within larger cuts . In many areas, bear human conflicts are
most likely to occur during years of huckleberry crop failure [37,47]
when wide-ranging hungry bears encounter recreationalsts or wildland home
owners. Damage to crops and beehives, and livestock losses also
typically increase during poor huckleberry years .
Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)
This species is readily available from native plant nurseries within its range. 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.”
This plant grows very rapidly in moist, shady conditions. If summer drought occurs, the plants should be watered so roots are kept fairly moist.
Traditional Resource Management: This includes the following: 1) occasional burning to stimulate new growth; 2) pruning the branches after picking the berries to stimulate new growth and fruit production the next growing season; and 3) ownership of red huckleberry shrubs provides the basis for careful tending and sustainable yield of valued resources.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Other uses and values
Fruit of the evergreen huckleberry is sweet, delicious, and edible,
although somewhat mealy, and with a "fairly strong musky flavor"
[8,21,28,40]. Large amounts of this berry are picked annually [51,58].
Berries are relatively large but vary greatly in color and quality .
Fruit of the variety saporosum reportedly has a better flavor than fruit
of the variety ovatum [40,61]. Berries are made into wine, eaten fresh,
cooked, and canned or frozen by home users and commercial processors
[19,51]. Most commercially processed fruit is used as pie filling .
Berries are not considered as desirable for fresh fruit as those from
some other species of huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.) 
Fruit of the evergreen huckleberry was traditionally used by many native
peoples of the West Coast. The Capella Indians reportedly traveled up
to 20 or 30 miles annually to harvest the fruit . Berries were
eaten fresh, mashed, or dried and made into cakes . Preserved
berries provided essential vitamin C during the winter months .
Foliage of the evergreen huckleberry is used by florists for fillers and
for background foliage in flower arrangements . It is also
occasionally used to make Christmas decorations . Large amounts of
evergreen huckleberry foliage are harvested annually and shipped
throughout the United States . During the early 1970s, an estimated
$1 million worth of brush was harvested annually in western Washington
Evergreen huckleberry is an attractive evergreen shrub with striking
reddish bark and evergreen leaves which remain a deep green in winter
. This shrub has many horticultural uses and can be planted as a
hedge plant or ground cover [28,49,51,57]. Evergreen huckleberry may
also have value for developing commercially important fruit-producing
Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
Evergreen huckleberry can be propagated through hardwood cuttings or by
seed [34,51]. Cleaned seed averages approximately 3,000,000 per pound
(6,608/g) or 10,784 seeds per pound (24/g) of fruit . Huckleberry
(Vaccinium spp.) seedlings grown in the greenhouse can be transplanted
onto favorable sites 6 to 7 weeks after emergence . Wild seedlings
rarely survive when transplanted . Seed collection and storage
techniques have been described .
Evergreen huckleberry was used for revegetating riparian areas in the
Santa Clara Valley of California .
Evergreen huckleberry presumably provides cover for a variety of
wildlife species. It commonly forms dense thickets [57,61] which may
serve as hiding, resting, or nesting sites for many birds and mammals.
carotene, manganese, and energy content [10,23].
Fruit: Huckleberry fruits are sweet and contain high concentrations of
both mono- and disaccharides . Berries are rich in vitamin C and
energy content but low in fats [30,46]. Berries of evergreen
huckleberry contain 24.5 percent water, 2,658 kcal per kg, and 3.85 mg
of ascorbic acid per gram . Specific nutrient content has been
documented as follows :
nutrient content /g dry weight
calories protein carbo- ash lipid Ca Fe Mg Zn
(g) hydrate (g) (g) (g) (g) (g) (g)
fresh 3.60 0.08 0.89 0.01 0.01 1.56 0.02 0.59 0.01
dried 3.52 0.06 0.92 0.02 0.00 1.74 0.02 0.20 0.01
ascorbic acid (mg)
rated as low to moderate . Fruit is highly preferred by many birds
and mammals. Palatability of evergreen huckleberry browse in California
has been rated as follows :
Domestic goats fair-poor
Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
parts of the Coast Ranges of southwestern Oregon . In many other
areas, it is described as poor forage for both elk and deer [21,52].
Evergreen huckleberry provides at least some browse for domestic sheep
and goats [12,49]. In certain locations, sheep use may be fairly heavy
in late summer, fall, and winter [12,49]. In parts of California,
domestic goats and deer may utilize 30 to 40 percent of the current
year's twigs and leaves .
Fruit: Berries of evergreen huckleberry are eaten by a wide variety of
birds and mammals . Thrushes, ptarmigans, towhees, ring-necked
pheasant, and spruce, ruffed, blue, and sharp-tailed grouse readily
consume the fruit of many huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.) [38,61].
Mammals such as the black bear, chipmunks, red fox, squirrels, gray fox,
and skunks, also eat the berries of many Vacciniums [38,61]. Grizzly
bears along the coast of British Columbia relish the fruits of many
species of huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.) .
Ethnobotanic: Tribes in British Columbia and western Washington use the berries of evergreen huckleberry. These tribes include the Sechelt, Comox, Straits, Halkomelem, Lower Nlaka'pamux Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth (Vancouver Island's West Coast), and the Quinault of Washington. Evergreen huckleberries were well liked and people often traveled great distances to obtain them. The berries ripen late in the year, around October or November. They are the last fruits to be gathered in the season round and are said to be even tastier after freezing. The berries are eaten fresh, usually with oil. The berries are also sun or smoke dried, partly mashed, pressed into cake form, and wrapped in leaves or bark. Today they are made into jam or used in cooking.
The leaves and berries are high in vitamin C. The leaves and finely chopped stems contain quinic acid, a former therapeutic for gout said to inhibit uric acid formation but never widely used because of mixed clinical results. The leaves have been widely used to lower or modify blood sugar levels. Many herbalists maintain that huckleberry leaf tea may be useful in stabilizing blood sugar levels in cases of diabetes, and medical research has shown that consumption of the leaf extract decreases blood sugar levels shortly after administration. Taken on regular basis, huckleberry tea will gradually help alleviate both glycosuria and hyperglycemia and appears to have a beginning, but useful effect as an adjunct treatment to diabetes mellitus. The leaves are believed also to stimulate appetite, and have astringent and antiseptic qualities that are useful in urinary disorders.
Horticulture: Evergreen huckleberry is an excellent horticultural choice due to its beautiful, glossy, evergreen foliage and tolerance of a wide range of light levels. The foliage is often used in flower arrangements.
Wildlife & Livestock: The foliage of evergreen huckleberry is browsed by elk and deer. Flowers attract butterflies. For several species of grouse, huckleberries are among the most important summer and early fall foods. Berries are eaten by chipmunks, black bear, mice, scarlet tanagers, bluebirds, thrushes, and other songbirds. Deer and rabbit browse freely on the plants. Because of their food value to wildlife and their dense shrubby growth, evergreen huckleberry is worthy of inclusion in hedgerows.
In some localities goats and deer crop evergreen huckleberry rather closely, utilizing 30 to 40 % of the leafage and current twigs. Sheep crop it somewhat less closely but it enters into their diet to a considerable extent in late summer and autumn. The browse rating is fair to poor for sheep, goats, and deer; poor to useless to cattle; and useless for horses.
Vaccinium ovatum is a species of flowering shrub known by the common names evergreen huckleberry, winter huckleberry and California huckleberry.
Distribution and ecology
Vaccinium ovatum is a small to medium sized evergreen shrub native to the Western Pacific Coast of the United States and coastal British Columbia. Typical flora associates are such plants as the western sword fern (Polystichum munitum), coastal woodfern (Dryopteris arguta), California snowberry (Symphoricarpos mollis), common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), and thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus). Often found sprouting from nurse logs and growing in conjunction with red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium).
Vaccinium ovatum is a true huckleberry plant, growing well in shade or sun and thriving in acidic soils. Not needing much sun, the plant has a wide variety of forest homes; it is often seen sprouting out of old coast redwood stumps or dense brambles of other forest growths. The shiny, alternately arranged leaves are 2 to 3 centimeters long and about a centimeter wide with finely serrated edges. During the summer the plant produces round, edible black berries up to a centimeter in diameter.
Vaccinium ovatum is grown as an ornamental plant for horticultural use by specialty wholesale, retail, and botanic garden native plant nurseries. The plant is successful in natural landscape and native plant palette style, and habitat gardens and public sustainable landscape and restoration projects that are similar to its habitat conditions.
- C. Michael Hogan. 2008
- Jepson Manual. 1993
- Foster, Steven; Hobbs, Christopher (April 2002). A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 039583807X.
- Jepson Horticultural Database for Vaccinium ovatum . 11.10.2010
- CNPLX: Vaccinium ovatum . accessed 11.10.2010
- Stephen Foster and Christopher Hobbs. 2002. Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs (pg. 287). Houghton Miller Company, New York, NY.
- C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Coastal Woodfern (Dryopteris arguta), GlobalTwitcher, ed. N. Stromberg
- Jepson Manual. 1993. Vaccinium ovatum, University of California Press, Berkeley, California
Names and Taxonomy
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