Variations on a Theme: Blueberry and Deerberry

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Vaccinium corymbosum
highbush blueberry

 

 

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Vaccinium stamineum
deerberry

 

 

 

Vaccinium is a large genus, comprising some 450 species worldwide, of which about 40 can be found in North America. You might know them by the common names blueberry, bilberry, deerberry, lingonberry, huckleberry, cranberry… Some of the species can be rather difficult to distinguish unless you examine the fruit, and good luck with that, because just about every mammal feeds on them (including me if I ever get to them first).

The rocky areas near Carderock are covered in these two unassuming little shrubs, which along with V. pallidum are the only Vaccinium species found in the Maryland Piedmont (according to the Maryland Biodiversity Project.)  Like most other plants in the Ericaceae (heather family), they like well-drained acidic soils and a good amount of shade.

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2 thoughts on “Variations on a Theme: Blueberry and Deerberry

  1. You’ve answered another question for me! I’ve been calling these deerberry plants “fake blueberries” and wondering what they were; now I know. I was at Carderock Sunday to photograph the mountain laurel and saw a few of these still blooming. Thanks for the great blog; I’ve learned a lot, and your photos are beautiful. (I’m the muddy-kneed photographer who pointed out the sessile bellwort patch we were almost standing in last month. and I asked about the hepatica.)

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