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Vaccinium vacillans

Common Name(s):
Bilberry, Dryland blueberry, Lowbush blueberry, Whortleberry
Categories:
Edible Plants, Native Plants, Shrubs
Comment:

Vaccinium vacillans is a highly branched rounded shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family.  It is found in dry woodlands, cleanings, and thickets. It is a low maintenance, and once established a drought tolerant, low water use plant.  The foliage is red in the fall.  It spreads through underground runners and can form clumps.  The bark is smooth and green to green-red.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal plains

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Spring-Summer, April-June   Foliage: Fall       Fruit/Seed/Nut:  Summer

Wildlife Value: This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer.  It is a host plant for the Brown Elfin butterfly.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, small mammals, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys and black bear.

Members of the genus Vaccinium support the following specialized bees:Andrena (Conandrena) bradleyiAndrena (Andrena) carolinaPanurginus atramontensisHabropoda laboriosaColletes productusColletes validus, and Osmia (Melanosmia) virga.


Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant will not survive in alkaline soils.

Height:
2-7 ft.
Foliage:
The leaves of the Lowbush blueberry are alternate with finely toothed or fuzzy margins and pale white underside.
Flower:
This plant has white bell shaped flowers that form in tight hanging clusters. The flowers are followed by a blue-black berry that matures in mid summer. The fruit is edible and sweet to the taste.
Zones:
5-9
Habit:
Deciduous
Site:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium loamy very acidic (pH in the range of 4.5 to 6) well-drained soil. Tolerates light woodland shade but produces more fruit in full sun.
Texture:
Medium
Form:
Rounder shrub
Exposure:
Light shade (woodland) to no shade
Fruit:
Berry
Edibility:
The fruit of the Lowbush blueberry can be eaten raw or cooked. It is very sweet and is considered one of the best tasting blueberries.
Tags:
naturalize, host plant, deciduous, low maintenance, fall color, birds, mammals, hedge, wildlife, fall interest, low water use, butterflies

NCCES plant id: 3211