Vaccinium uliginosum

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Vaccinium uliginosum
Leaves and fruit
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium
V. uliginosum
Binomial name
Vaccinium uliginosum
  • Myrtillus grandis Bubani
  • Myrtillus uliginosus (L.) Drejer
  • Vaccinium gaultherioides Bigelow
  • Vaccinium occidentale A. Gray
  • Vaccinium pedris Holub
  • Vaccinium pubescens Wormsk. ex Hornem.
  • Vaccinium salicinum Cham. & Schltdl.

Vaccinium uliginosum (bog bilberry, bog blueberry,[2] northern bilberry or western blueberry[3]) is a Eurasian and North American flowering plant in the genus Vaccinium within the heath family.


Vaccinium uliginosum is native to cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, at low altitudes in the Arctic, and at high altitudes south to the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Caucasus in Europe, the mountains of Mongolia, northern China, the Korean Peninsula and central Japan in Asia, and the Sierra Nevada in California and the Rocky Mountains in Utah in North America.[4][5][6][7]

It grows on wet acidic soils on heathland, moorland, tundra, and in the understory of coniferous forests, from sea level in the Arctic, up to 3,400 metres (11,200 ft) altitude in the south of the range.


Vaccinium uliginosum is a small deciduous shrub growing to 10–75 cm (4–30 in) tall, rarely 1 m (3 ft 3 in) tall, with brown stems (unlike the green stems of the closely related bilberry). The leaves are oval, 4–30 mm (5321+316 in) long and 2–15 mm (5641932 in) wide, blue-green with pale net-like veins, with a smooth margin and rounded apex.[4]

The flowers are pendulous, urn-shaped, pale pink, 4–6 mm (5321564 in) long, produced in mid spring. The fruit is a dark blue-black berry 5–8 mm (316516 in) diameter, with a white flesh, edible and sweet when ripe in late summer.[4]


Three subspecies have been described, but not all authorities distinguish them:[1][4]

  • Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. microphyllum Lange – Arctic plants
  • Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. occidentale (A.Gray) Hultén – North American plants
  • Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. uliginosum

Culinary use[edit]

The berries can be eaten raw or cooked, used to make jelly or pies, or dried to make pemmican.[8] Bog bilberry is used in infused liquor in Korea.


  1. ^ a b "Vaccinium uliginosum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List. Note that this website has been superseded by World Flora Online
  2. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Vaccinium uliginosum". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. ^ Wallace, Gary D. (2017). "Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. occidentale". In Jepson Flora Project (ed.). Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Vander Kloet, Sam P. (2009). "Vaccinium uliginosum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 8. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ Fang, Ruizheng; Steven, Peter F. "Vaccinium uliginosum". Flora of China. Vol. 14 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  6. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Falso mirtillo, Vaccinium uliginosum L.
  7. ^ "Vaccinium uliginosum". State-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  8. ^ Nyerges, Christopher (2017). Foraging Washington: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods. Guilford, CT: Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-2534-3. OCLC 965922681.

Further reading[edit]

  • Blamey, M.; Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Hodder & Stoughton.

External links[edit]