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Gaylussacia dumosa

Common Name(s):
Dwarf huckleberry
Categories:
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Perennials, Shrubs
Comment:

Dwarf huckleberry is a low growing native, blueberry-like shrub in the Ericaceae family. It is deciduous to semi-evergreen found in low pinelands, pond margins and bogs and dry, sandy woods.  It is a low water use plant that suckers freely.  It succeeds in wetter soils that other plants in this genus.

Dwarf huckleberry is a small, deciduous, erect, much-branched, rhizomatous shrub which grows from 12 to 30 inches (30-75 cm) in height.

Many stems ascend from the base, forming a low, dense, rounded crown. The twigs are usually copiously pubescent with short, curly hairs.

Its bark is gray-brown and finely peeling.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf:                     Blooms: Early spring/spring             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer/fall

Wildlife Value:  This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for Henry Elfin's butterfly.  Butterflies are attracted to its blooms.  Its fruits are eaten by birds and mammals such as raccoon, gray fox, red fox, skunk, chipmunk, and squirrel. Dwarf huckleberry is also eaten by roughed grouse, wild turkey, and quail.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: 

Season:
Spring, summer, fall
Height:
1-3 ft.
Flower Color:
White
Hardiness:
-15° C
Foliage:
The small deciduous leaves of the Dwarf Huckleberry are simple, leathery, obovate to elliptical with the lower surface typically glandular. They are alternate, with a fuzzy margin with yellow resin dots on the underside. Leaves are 1 in. long and widest toward the tip.
Flower:
The Dwarf huckleberry has conspicuous flowers that appear in June. They are borne on racemes at the end of branchlets. They are cream, cup-shaped and five-lobed and lead to shiny black berries. The berries have 10 nutlets, each carrying one seed.
Zones:
5-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
The Dwarf huckleberry grows in sandy, moist, acidic soils in full sun to partial shade.
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Rounded
Propagation:
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame
Exposure:
Full sun to partial shade
Fruit:
Berry
Soil:
Acidic, moist, well-drained
Regions:
Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Origin:
Eastern N. America -Newfoundland to Florida and Louisiana
Edibility:
The fruit of the Dwarf huckleberry can be consumed raw or cooked and used as a pie filling etc. It is juicy and deliciously spicy.
Width:
1-3 ft.
Tags:
low water use, semi-evergreen, deciduous, woodland, widlife

NCCES plant id: 3191

Gaylussacia dumosa Photo taken at Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve, a State Park in Moore County, NC.
Jon. D. Anderson, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Gaylussacia dumosa Ripe fruits are blue-black.
Pollywog Creek, CC BY - 2.0
Gaylussacia dumosa Unripe fruits are bright green.
Pollywog Creek, CC BY - 2.0