Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium augstifolium)

 

Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium augustifolium)  is a deciduous shrub in the Heath Family (Ericaceae) and order Ericales. It iscommon around French Hill Pond. The photograph on this page was taken to the east of the pond. The genus name is from the Latin for Bilberry. The species name is Latin for "narrow leaf." This shrub can grow to 14 inches (36 centimeters). The white flowers (shown below) are urn-shaped, in five parts and about ⅜ inch ( one centimeter) long. This plant flowers in May and June. Although this plant is in the field-plant category, it may be found in woodlands or as an emergent plant. 

Blueberry Flower

The  leaves are narrowly elliptical with very tiny teeth. The midvein and other veins of a leaf are prominent and a lighter green than the other parts of the leaf.

The fruit (shown in the first picture above) is a small blue berry with many, tiny, red-brown seeds. It is a popular food. The Lowbush Blueberries are smaller than the Highbush Blueberries that are cultivated more intensely outside Maine. However, Lowbush Blueberries are the preferred blueberry in Maine because they are easy to grow, easy to pick and are more popular than the larger berries. The small blueberries sold in supermarkets or at roadside stands are usually Lowbush Blueberries. The larger berries are usually Highbush Blueberries. Both types of blueberries grow wild in Maine.

The root system is simple.

Lowbush Blueberries are found throughout Mount Desert Island. Many people enjoy picking them by hand while sitting in the sun. Commercial pickers use a specially designed rake connected to a pan. These blueberry rakes enable the rapid harvesting of the berries.

 

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