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Vaccinium myrtilloides

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Ericales

Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Vaccinioideae
Tribus: Vaccinieae
Genus: Vaccinium
Sectio: V. sect. Cyanococcus
Species: Vaccinium myrtilloides

Vaccinium myrtilloides Michx., 1803

Cyanococcus canadensis (Kalm ex L.Rich.) Rydb.
Vaccinium album Lam.
Vaccinium angustifolium var. myrtilloides (Michx.) House
Vaccinium canadense Kalm ex A.Rich.
Vaccinium membranaceum Dougl. ex Hook.


Vaccinium myrtilloides S.Wats. = Vaccinium myrtillus subsp. myrtillus

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
USA (Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington State, Wisconsin, West Virginia), Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Northern Territories, Ontario, Prince Edward Isl., Quebec, Saskatchewan)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Michaux, A. 1803. Flora Boreali-Americana: sistens caracteres plantarum quas in America septentrionali collegit et detexit Andreas Michaux. Vol. 1. Parisiis et Argentorati: fratres Levrault. BHL Reference page. : 1:234.


Hassler, M. 2020. Vaccinium myrtilloides. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 29. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Vaccinium myrtilloides in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 29. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Vaccinium myrtilloides. Published online. Accessed: May 29 2020.
Tropicos.org 2020. Vaccinium myrtilloides. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 29.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Vaccinium myrtilloides in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 2020 May 29.

Vernacular names
English: Canadian blueberry, velvetleaf huckleberry

Vaccinium myrtilloides is a shrub with common names including common blueberry, velvetleaf huckleberry, velvetleaf blueberry, Canadian blueberry, and sourtop blueberry.[2] It is common in much of North America, reported from all 10 Canadian provinces plus Nunavut and Northwest Territories, as well as from the northeastern and Great Lakes states in the United States. It is also known to occur in Montana and Washington.[3]


Vaccinium myrtilloides is a low spreading deciduous shrub growing up to 50 cm (20 inches) tall, often spreading to form small thickets. The leaves are bright green, paler underneath with velvety hairs. The flowers are white, bell-shaped, 5 mm (0.2 inches) long. The fruit is a small sweet bright blue to dark blue berry. Young stems have stiff dense bristly hairs.[3]

Vaccinium myrtilloides grows best in open coniferous woods with dry loose acidic soils; it is also found in forested bogs and rocky areas. It is fire-tolerant and is often abundant following forest fires or clear-cut logging. Vaccinium myrtilloides hybridizes in the wild with Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry).

Vaccinium myrtilloides is also cultivated and grown commercially in Canada and Maine, mainly harvested from managed wild patches. Vaccinium myrtilloides is one of the sweetest blueberries known.

It is also an important food source for black bears, deer, small mammals, and birds.
Conservation Status in the United States

This species is listed as endangered in Indiana and Connecticut,[4] as threatened in Iowa and Ohio, and as sensitive in Washington (state).[5]
Native American Ethnobotany
As cuisine

The Abenaki consume the fruit as part of their traditional diet.[6] The Nihithawak Cree eat the berries raw, make them into jam and eat it with fish and bannock, and boil or pound the sun-dried berries into pemmican.[7] The Hesquiaht First Nation make pies and preserves from the berries.[8] The Hoh and Quileute consume the fruit raw, stew the berries and make them into a sauce, and can the berries and use them as a winter food.[9] The Ojibwa make use of the berries, gathering and selling them, eating them fresh, sun drying and canning them for future use.[10] The Nlaka'pamux make the berries into pies.[11] The Algonquin people gather the fruit to eat and sell.[12] The berries are part of Potawatomi traditional cuisine, and are eaten fresh, dried, and canned.[13]
As medicine

The Nihithawak Cree use a decoction of leafy stems used to bring menstruation and prevent pregnancy, to make a person sweat, to slow excessive menstrual bleeding, to bring blood after childbirth, and to prevent miscarriage.[7] The Potawatomi also use the root bark of the plant for an unspecified ailment.[14]
Other uses

The Nihithawak Cree use the berries to dye porcupine quills.[7]
See also



"Vaccinium myrtilloides". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.
Michaux, Flora Borealis-Americana 1: 234. 1803.
Vander Kloet, Sam P. (2009). "Vaccinium myrtilloides". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 8. New York and Oxford – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
"Connecticut's Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species 2015". State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Bureau of Natural Resources. Retrieved 31 December 2017.(Note: This list is newer than the one used by plants.usda.gov and is more up-to-date.)
"Vaccinium myrtilloides". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
Rousseau, Jacques, 1947, Ethnobotanique Abenakise, Archives de Folklore 11:145-182, page 152, 171
Leighton, Anna L., 1985, Wild Plant Use by the Woods Cree (Nihithawak) of East-Central Saskatchewan, Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series, page 63
Turner, Nancy J. and Barbara S. Efrat, 1982, Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island, Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum, page 67
Reagan, Albert B., 1936, Plants Used by the Hoh and Quileute Indians, Kansas Academy of Science 37:55-70, page 67
Reagan, Albert B., 1928, Plants Used by the Bois Fort Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians of Minnesota, Wisconsin Archeologist 7(4):230-248, page 238
Turner, Nancy J., Laurence C. Thompson and M. Terry Thompson et al., 1990, Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, Victoria. Royal British Columbia Museum, page 218
Black, Meredith Jean, 1980, Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec, Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series Number 65, page 103
Smith, Huron H., 1933, Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians, Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230, page 99
Smith, Huron H., 1933, Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians, Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230, page 57

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