Brief Summary

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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.)
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Common Names

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highbush blueberry
high-bush blueberry
northern highbush blueberry
tall blueberry
rabbiteye blueberry
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Description

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More info for the terms: fruit, 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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Distribution

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Fire Ecology

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More info for the terms: fire regime, shrubs, 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.

FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find FIRE REGIMES".
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat characteristics

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Cover Types

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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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Ecosystem

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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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Habitat: Plant Associations

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

More info for the terms: bog, forest

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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Key Plant Community Associations

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

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]
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Life Form

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More info for the term: shrub

Shrub
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Nutritional Value

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More info for the terms: fruit, natural, seed

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
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Occurrence in North America

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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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Other uses and values

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Phenology

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More info for the terms: fruit, seed

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
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Plant Response to Fire

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More info for the terms: forest, 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
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Post-fire Regeneration

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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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Regeneration Processes

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More info for the terms: fruit, layering, seed, shrubs, stratification

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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Successional Status

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Synonyms

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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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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Taxonomy

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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].
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Uchytil, Ronald J. 1993. Vaccinium corymbosum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/

Vaccinium corymbosum

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Vaccinium corymbosum, the northern highbush blueberry, is a North American species of blueberry which has become a food crop of significant economic importance. It is native to eastern Canada and the eastern and southern United States, from Ontario east to Nova Scotia and south as far as Florida and eastern Texas. It is also naturalized in other places: Europe, Japan, New Zealand, the Pacific Northwest of North America, etc.[2][3][4][5] Other common names include blue huckleberry, tall huckleberry, swamp huckleberry, high blueberry, and swamp blueberry.[6]

Description

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 2 inches (5 cm) long. In autumn, the leaves turn to a brilliant red, orange, yellow, and/or purple.[4][7]

The flowers are long bell- or urn-shaped white to very light pink, 13 of an inch (8.5 mm) long.[4][7]

The fruit is a 14-to-12-inch (6.4 to 12.7 mm) diameter blue-black berry.[4] This plant is found in wooded or open areas with moist acidic soils.[7][8]

The species is tetraploid and does not self-pollinate.[9] Most cultivars have a chilling requirement greater than 800 hours.

History

Many wild species of Vaccinium are thought to have been cultivated by Native Americans for thousands of years, with intentional crop burnings in northeastern areas being apparent from archeological evidence.[9] V. corymbosum, being one of the species likely used by these peoples, was later studied and domesticated in 1908 by Frederick Vernon Coville.

Uses

In natural habitats, the berries are a food source for native and migrating birds, bears, and small mammals. The foliage is browsed by deer and rabbits.[10]

The berries were collected and used in Native American cuisine in areas where Vaccinium corymbosum grew as a native plant.[11]

Cultivation

Vaccinium corymbosum is 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.[8][12] The pH must be very acidic (4.5 to 5.5).[4]

Cultivars

Some common cultivar varieties are listed here, grouped by approximate start of the harvest season:[13]

Early
  • Duke
  • Patriot
  • Reka
  • Spartan
Mid-Season
  • Bluecrop
  • Blu-ray
  • KaBluey
  • Northland
Late

The cultivars Duke[14] and Spartan[15] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Southern highbush blueberry

Some named Southern highbush blueberry 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.[16][17]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ The Plant List, Vaccinium corymbosum L.
  2. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  3. ^ Taxonomic account from Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) — for Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
  4. ^ a b c d e Vaccinium corymbosum. accessed 3.23.2013
  5. ^ "Vaccinium corymbosum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  6. ^ Gough, Robert Edward (1994). The highbush blueberry and its management. Psychology Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-56022-021-3. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  7. ^ a b c Flora of North America, Vaccinium corymbosum Linnaeus, 1753. High-bush blueberry, bleuet en corymbe
  8. ^ a b Missouri Botanical Garden: Kemper Center for Home Gardening — Vaccinium corymbosum . accessed 3.23.2013
  9. ^ a b Retamales, Jorge B.; Hancock, James F. (2012). Blueberries: Volume 21 of Crop production science in horticulture (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). pp. 2 & 39–42. ISBN 9781845938260.
  10. ^ Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 509. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.
  11. ^ University of Michigan at Dearborn — Native American Ethnobotany of Vaccinium corymbosum Archived 2013-05-29 at the Wayback Machine . accessed 9.9.2015
  12. ^ Hort.uconn.edu: Vaccinium corymbosum; Landscape use section Archived 2013-03-27 at the Wayback Machine . accessed 3.23.2013
  13. ^ Hort.uconn.edu: Vaccinium corymbosum; Cultivars/varieties section Archived 2013-03-27 at the Wayback Machine . accessed 3.23.2013
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Vaccinium corymbosum 'Duke'". Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Vaccinium corymbosum 'Spartan'". Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  16. ^ eXtension: Southern Highbush Blueberry Varieties
  17. ^ Four Winds Growers: Care of southern highbush blueberries

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Vaccinium corymbosum: Brief Summary

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Vaccinium corymbosum, the northern highbush blueberry, is a North American species of blueberry which has become a food crop of significant economic importance. It is native to eastern Canada and the eastern and southern United States, from Ontario east to Nova Scotia and south as far as Florida and eastern Texas. It is also naturalized in other places: Europe, Japan, New Zealand, the Pacific Northwest of North America, etc. Other common names include blue huckleberry, tall huckleberry, swamp huckleberry, high blueberry, and swamp blueberry.

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