Vaccinium corymbosum

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Northern highbush blueberry
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
V. corymbosum
Binomial name
Vaccinium corymbosum
L. 1753
  • Cyanococcus corymbosus (L.) Rydb.
  • Vaccinium albiflorum Hook.

Vaccinium corymbosum, the northern highbush blueberry, is a North American species of blueberry which has become a food crop of significant economic importance. It is native to eastern Canada and the eastern and southern United States, from Ontario east to Nova Scotia and south as far as Florida and eastern Texas. It is also naturalized in other places: Europe, Japan, New Zealand, the Pacific Northwest of North America, etc.[2][3][4][5] Other common names include blue huckleberry, tall huckleberry, swamp huckleberry, high blueberry, and swamp blueberry.[6]


Vaccinium corymbosum is a deciduous shrub growing to 6–12 feet (1.8–3.7 m) tall and wide. It is often found in dense thickets. The dark glossy green leaves are elliptical and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. In autumn, the leaves turn to a brilliant red, orange, yellow, and/or purple.[4][7]

The flowers are long bell- or urn-shaped white to very light pink, 13 of an inch (8.5 mm) long.[4][7]

The fruit is a 14-to-12-inch (6.4 to 12.7 mm) diameter blue-black berry.[4] This plant is found in wooded or open areas with moist acidic soils.[7][8]

The species is tetraploid and does not self-pollinate.[9] Most cultivars have a chilling requirement greater than 800 hours.


Many wild species of Vaccinium are thought to have been cultivated by Native Americans for thousands of years, with intentional crop burnings in northeastern areas being apparent from archeological evidence.[9] V. corymbosum, being one of the species likely used by these peoples, was later studied and domesticated in 1908 by Elizabeth Coleman White and Frederick Vernon Coville.


In natural habitats, the berries are a food source for native and migrating birds, bears, and small mammals. The foliage is browsed by deer and rabbits.[10]

The berries were collected and used in Native American cuisine in areas where Vaccinium corymbosum grew as a native plant.[11]


Vaccinium corymbosum is the most common commercially grown blueberry in present-day North America.

It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant for home and wildlife gardens and natural landscaping projects.[8][12] The pH must be very acidic (4.5 to 5.5).[4]


Some common cultivar varieties are listed here, grouped by approximate start of the harvest season:[13]

  • Duke
  • Patriot      
  • Reka
  • Spartan
  • Bluecrop      
  • Blu-ray
  • KaBluey
  • Northland

The cultivars Duke[14] and Spartan[15] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Southern highbush blueberry[edit]

Some named Southern highbush blueberry are hybridized forms derived from crosses between V. corymbosum and Vaccinium darrowii, a native of the Southeastern U.S. These hybrids and other cultivars of V. darrowii (Southern highbush blueberry) have been developed for cultivation in warm southern and western regions of North America.[16][17]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Plant List, Vaccinium corymbosum L.
  2. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  3. ^ Taxonomic account from Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) — for Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
  4. ^ a b c d e Vaccinium corymbosum. accessed 3.23.2013
  5. ^ "Vaccinium corymbosum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  6. ^ Gough, Robert Edward (1994). The highbush blueberry and its management. Psychology Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-56022-021-3. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  7. ^ a b c Flora of North America, Vaccinium corymbosum Linnaeus, 1753. High-bush blueberry, bleuet en corymbe
  8. ^ a b Missouri Botanical Garden: Kemper Center for Home Gardening — Vaccinium corymbosum. accessed 3.23.2013
  9. ^ a b Retamales, Jorge B.; Hancock, James F. (2012). Blueberries: Volume 21 of Crop production science in horticulture (1st ed.). Cambridge, MA: Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). pp. 2 & 39–42. ISBN 9781845938260.
  10. ^ Niering, William A.; Olmstead, Nancy C. (1985) [1979]. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Knopf. p. 509. ISBN 0-394-50432-1.
  11. ^ University of Michigan at Dearborn — Native American Ethnobotany of Vaccinium corymbosum Archived 2013-05-29 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 9.9.2015
  12. ^ Vaccinium corymbosum; Landscape use section Archived 2013-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 3.23.2013
  13. ^ Vaccinium corymbosum; Cultivars/varieties section Archived 2013-03-27 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 3.23.2013
  14. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Vaccinium corymbosum 'Duke'". Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Vaccinium corymbosum 'Spartan'". Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  16. ^ eXtension: Southern Highbush Blueberry Varieties[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Four Winds Growers: Care of southern highbush blueberries

External links[edit]