Vaccinium Bilberry

Vaccinium is mainly indigenous in the northern hemisphere and comprises about 300-400 species, of woody-stemmed, berry-bearing plants, some of which grow in this part of the world in deciduous and Coniferous woodland – V. myrtillus, bilberry – and in woodlands and reedy areas -V. vitis-idaea. In addition, there are V. uliginosum, V. oxycoccus, fen-berry, and V. macrocarpon, cranberry, which has been found on the Wadden islands. This is a deciduous or evergreen, low-growing or tall shrub, with spreading, smooth-edged or serrated leaves. Sometimes it has beautiful autumn foliage. The small, tubular or bell-shaped flowers grow singly or in clusters, terminally or in the leaf axilla, and are followed by often delicious red or black berries.

V. corymbosum, highbush blueberry, is a deciduous, bushy, upright shrub up to 150 cm tall, which bears abundant berries. It has pointed, leaves, 9 cm long, which turn a striking purplish colour in autumn, white or pale pink flowers and delicious blue berries maturing to white. V. vitis-idaea, cowberry, is an evergreen, prostrate, compact shrub, 10-30 cm tall, with shiny green, leather)’, oval leaves, 1-2.5 cm long, small, white flowers, and numerous large, red berries in pendent clusters. Very suitable as ground cover. There are various cultivars which bear abundant fruit.

This shrub is suitable for a slightly shady spot in moist, acid soil. Propagate from summer cuttings and by layering (autumn).

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