Scientific name: Anthophyta: Dicotyledonae: Ericales: Ericaceae: Vaccinium corymbosum
Common Name: Information Sheet, Vaccinium
Date: 24 June 2001
Photographer: E. M. Barrows
Identifier: E. M. Barrows
Collector: not applicable
Location: Lebanon State Forest
Keywords: A blue fruit bush Fall Webworm Forest Ecology High-bush Blueberry Lebanon State Forest Pine Barrens shrub white flower
High-bush Blueberry by Parkin Pond.
A closer view of High-bush Blueberry.
A larval nest of Fall Webworms (a moth species) in High-bush Blueberry.
Joseph E. Barrows took this photo.
Information Sheet, Vaccinium
Vaccinium spp., Cranberries, Bilberries, Blueberries (Ericaceae, Heath Family)
[Latin Vaccinium , ancient name, presumably from vaccinus, of cows, as reflected in the Germanic folk name, Kuhteke ]
(Fernald 1950, 1129; Kricher & Morrison 1998, 83)
To see more information about Vaccinium on this Website, please use "genus name" Vaccinium.
General roles in forests.
Vacciniums are an autotrophs that live in forests, forest edges, fields, successional areas, swamps, swamp forests, treed bogs, yards, and elsewhere.
Many kinds of organisms consume dead and living Vaccinium fruits, leaves, roots, and stems.
Specific roles in forests.
Vaccinium (Blueberries) and Huckleberries are dominant shrubs in some areas of Appalachia.
Leaf, root, and stem feeders (parasites) of Vaccinium in general in the U.S. include 2 bacterium spp., 4 beetle spp., 5 borer spp., 1 bug sp., 1 dodder sp., 1 fly sp., 57 fungus spp., 1 leafhopper sp. (vector of stunt disease in blueberries), 1 leafminer sp., 2 mite spp., 11 moth spp., 1 nematodes sp., 15 scale spp., 1 thrips sp. (curls and deforms blueberry leaves), 7 virus kinds, 1 wasp sp., 3 weevil spp. (Horst 1990, 559; Westcott 1973).
Nectar and pollen feeders (parasites, pollinators, predators) include beetle spp., butterfly spp., the Giant Carpenter Bee, other bee spp., flower-fly spp., other fly spp., moth spp., and wasp spp.
Bumble bees are major pollen and nectar eaters and pollinators vacciniums.
Blueberries are minor to major honey plants in the continental U.S. (Pellett 1978. 63).
Other animals eat Vaccinium nectar and pollen. Fruit feeders (fruit dispersers, frugivores, parasites) are songbirds and many mammal spp.
We eat many Vaccinium species as a candy; dried fruits; fresh fruit; jam; jelly; juice; in cakes, nut bread, muffins, pies and pudding; trail-side nibble; and wine (Peterson 1977, 220).
Some Vaccinium berries are very tasty.
We pick great quantities of wild blueberries, and also produce tons of them from cultivars.
Blueberries and cranberries are major fruit crops.
Many people harvest blueberries in the Dolly Sods, WV.
Blueberries that are toxic to Humans grow in the Andes, causing coma-like symptoms (Paul Spangler, personal communication).
Species with huge berries grow in Costa Rican mountains; I remember a bush with drooping branches and very large berries growing on a large, old, moss covered tree stump in San Vito, Costa Rica, in 1972.
I ate some of its berries with no ill effects.
Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries grow well in higher elevations in the American tropics.