Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum )

The blueberries (Vaccinium ) are a genus of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae ( Ericaceae ). They are in the German language commonly referred to as blueberries or blueberries, where the term in the narrower sense applies only to the most common type in Europe, the blueberry or bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). The 450 to 500 Vaccinium species are mainly native to the northern hemisphere.

  • 5.1 Notes and references


Appearance and leaves

The Vaccinium species grow as evergreen or deciduous, creeping, spreading, independently upright or climbing dwarf shrubs, shrubs or trees. They usually grow terrestrial, rarely epiphytic also. The aboveground plant parts can be bald or hairy; while the hairs ( trichomes ) are stalked or sessile, glandular and glandular or not.

The alternate and spirally or rarely pseudowirtelig arranged leaves may be stalked. The membranous to leathery leaves are glabrous or hairy. The simple leaf blades are elliptical, ovate, oblong- lanceolate or spatulate. The flat or recurved leaf margin is smooth or serrated.

Inflorescences and flowers

The terminal or axillary, racemose inflorescences usually contain two to ten flowers; sometimes the flowers are individually or collectively in the leaf axils. There are durable or perishable soon bracts present. Small bracts are present only in the section Oxycoccus. The flower stalks can be widened near the flower and usually they are divided.

The hermaphrodite flowers are radial symmetry and rarely four or mostly fünfzählig double perianth ( perianth ). The rare four or five sepals are usually grown only at their base. The usually five, rarely four or six petals are usually spherical, bells, urns or tubular grown to nearly their entire length; rare they are almost free. The colors of the petals range from mostly green, white on cream to pink and bronze color, rarely they are red. The straight to recurved corolla lobes are usually shorter than the corolla tube. There are usually two, rarely one, circles, each with four or five stamens present, which does not usually extend beyond the crown. The bald or hairy filaments are straight and flat. The dust bag can have horns. The discus in a ring. Four or five carpels are fused to an under standing, four-to fünfkammerigen or usually eight to ten pseudokammerigen ovary. There are many ovules exist. The scars are capitate, or unobtrusive and trimmed.

Fruit and seeds

Characteristic of the genus Vaccinium, the egg-shaped to spherical, fleshy berries. The red or blue when ripe berries contain from two to forty seeds. The relatively small, ovoid to ellipsoid having a net-like, hard or slimy seed coat ( testa).


The basic chromosome number is x = 12


The fruits of most Vaccinium species are edible. There are some varieties that are grown as soft fruits. Some types of medical effects have been investigated.

In Europe ( Vaccinium uliginosum ) are traditionally especially the blueberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus) and lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis- idaea ), in some regions, but also cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos ) and bog bilberry collected in nature and eaten.

The North American wild forms centuries ago had the Native Americans, for example in the area of present-day U.S. state of Washington, as food. So there were dry places that are only recognizable by rectangular recesses. Eleven of them were found in the Indian Heaven Wilderness in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Blueberries (cultural blueberries, bush blueberries), which are now grown in plantations are mostly crosses between the native to North America the species Vaccinium angustifolium and Vaccinium corymbosum, and cultural forms of the parent species itself, another hybrid of the American blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum ) and other Vaccinium species. Since the beginning of the 20th century, 75 to 100 new varieties were cultivated.


The genus Vaccinium is mainly native to the northern hemisphere. In tropical Asia, Central and South America it is restricted to the high mountains. Some species are found in Africa and Madagascar. In China, 92 species have been recorded, 51 of them only there. 25 species are native to North America.

The Vaccinium species usually grow on nutrient-poor and acidic soils, mainly in heathland and moorland in sparse forests. In the mountains they are found in the subalpine and alpine altitude level.


The first publication of the genus Vaccinium was in 1753 by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum, 1, pp. 349-352. Type species Vaccinium uliginosum L. is the botanical genus name Vaccinium possibly goes back to baccinium for berry bush and Bacca for berry. The genus Vaccinium belongs to the tribe Vaccinieae in the subfamily Vaccinioideae within the family Ericaceae. Synonyms for Vaccinium L. are: Hornemannia Vahl, Hugeria Small, Neojunghuhnia Coord, Oxycoccus Hill, Rigiolepis Hook. f The genus Vaccinium includes, among other things, cranberries, bilberries, noise and cranberries.

The genus Vaccinium is divided into subgenera and sections. This includes depending on different analysts view between about 450 and 500 species (selection):

  • Subgenus Oxycoccus: Section Oxycoccoides Benth. & Hook.f.: Vaccinium erythrocarpum Michx.
  • Under the genus Vaccinium: Section Batodendron ( Nutt. ) A. Gray: Vaccinium arboreum Marshall
  • Vaccinium dependens ( G.Don ) Sleumer
  • Vaccinium acrobracteatum K.Schum.
  • Vaccinium barandanum S.Vidal
  • Vaccinium bracteatum Thunb.
  • Vaccinium coriaceum Hook. f
  • Vaccinium cornigerum Sleumer
  • Vaccinium cruentum Sleumer
  • Vaccinium hooglandii Sleumer
  • Vaccinium horizontal Sleumer
  • Vaccinium laurifolium (Blume ) Miq.
  • Vaccinium lucidum (Blume ) Miq.
  • Vaccinium myrtoides (Blume ) Miq.
  • Vaccinium phillyreoides Sleumer
  • Vaccinium reticulatovenosum Sleumer
  • Vaccinium sparsum Sleumer
  • Vaccinium varingifolium (Blume ) Miq.
  • Vaccinium chunii Merr. ex Sleumer
  • Vaccinium dunalianum Wight
  • Vaccinium glaucoalbum Hook. f ex C.B.Clarke
  • Vaccinium urceolatum Hemsl.
  • Vaccinium ciliatum Thunb.
  • Vaccinium oldhamii Miq.
  • Vaccinium exul bolus
  • Vaccinium corymbodendron Dunal
  • Vaccinium delavayi Franch.
  • Vaccinium emarginatum Hayata
  • Vaccinium griffithianum Wight
  • Vaccinium meridional Sw.
  • Vaccinium moupinense Franch.
  • Vaccinium neilgherrense Wight
  • Vaccinium nummularia Hook. f & Thomson ex C.B.Clarke
  • Vaccinium retusum ( Griff. ) Hook. f ex C.B.Clarke
  • Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton
  • Vaccinium boreale I.V.Hall & Aalders
  • Vaccinium caesariense Mack.
  • Highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.)
  • Vaccinium darrowii Camp
  • Vaccinium elliottii Chapm.
  • Vaccinium formosum Andrews
  • Vaccinium fuscatum Aiton
  • Vaccinium hirsutum Buckley
  • Vaccinium koreanum Nakai
  • Vaccinium myrsinite Lam.
  • Canadian blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides Michx. )
  • Vaccinium pallidum Aiton
  • Vaccinium simulatum Small
  • Vaccinium tenellum Aiton
  • Vaccinium virgatum Aiton
  • Vaccinium fragile Franch.
  • Vaccinium vacciniaceum ( Roxb. ) Sleumer
  • Vaccinium L. arctostaphylos
  • Vaccinium cylindraceum Sm
  • Vaccinium hirtum Thunb.
  • Vaccinium padifolium Sm
  • Vaccinium smallii A. Gray
  • Vaccinium crassifolium Andrews
  • Vaccinium calycinum Sm
  • Vaccinium cespitosum Michx.
  • Vaccinium deliciosum Piper
  • Vaccinium dentatum Sm
  • Vaccinium membranaceum Douglas ex Torr.
  • Blueberry, bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.)
  • Vaccinium ovalifolium Sm
  • Vaccinium parvifolium Sm
  • Vaccinium praestans Lamb.
  • Vaccinium reticulatum Sm
  • Vaccinium scoparium Leiberg
  • Vaccinium crenatum ( G.Don ) Sleumer
  • Vaccinium ambyandrum F.Muell.
  • Vaccinium cyclopense J.J.Sm.
  • Vaccinium fissiflorum Sleumer
  • Vaccinium L. stamineum
  • Vaccinium consanguineum Klotzsch
  • Vaccinium floribundum Kunth
  • Vaccinium ovatum Pursh
  • Bilberry, Trunkelbeere (Vaccinium uliginosum L.)
  • Cranberry, Kronsbeere (Vaccinium vitis- idaea L.)


  • Fang Ruizheng (方 瑞 征) & Peter F. Stevens: Vaccinium in the Flora of China, Volume 14, 2005, p 349: Online. (Section Description, distribution and systematics)
  • Sam P. Vander Kloet: Vaccinium in the Flora of North America, Volume 8, 2009, p 515: Online. ( Section systematics and description)