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Ericaceae Vaccinium sp.

Highbush blueberry V. corymbosum L.

Lowbush blueberry V. angustifolium Ait.

Rabbiteye blueberry V. ashei Reade

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Several species of blueberries are native in the U.S., and fruits of many are gathered from the wild. The three species listed are the ones in commercial culture. The lowbush is not commercially planted, but thousands of acres of natural stands are pruned, sprayed and harvested. The highbush varieties, produced by breeding during the past half century, are now widely grown. The rabbiteye is increasing in importance in the Southeast.

Plants of all are woody shrubs, varying from 2 to 3 feet in the lowbush to 10 or more feet in the highbush and rabbiteye, but in cultivation held to 5 to 6 feet by pruning. Fruit is smooth skinned with a waxy coating or bloom. Individual berries are borne in clusters, are round to oblate in shape. Size up to 0.75 inch diameter in cultivated varieties; 0.25 to 0.5 inch in natives.

Season, bloom to harvest: 2 to 4 months.

Production in U.S.: About 27,000 tons.

Use: Fresh, frozen, canned, jam, culinary.

Part of fruit consumed: All.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch