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Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry)

Blueberry is cultivated in North America and Europe for its edible fruits, which have been promoted as an antioxidant-containing 'superfood'.
Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry) fruits

Vaccinium corymbosum fruits (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Vaccinium corymbosum L.

Common name: 

blueberry, northern highbush blueberry, swamp blueberry (English); airelle d'Amérique, bluet en corymbe (French); arándano americano (Spanish); amerikanskt blåbär (Swedish).

Conservation status: 

Widespread in cultivation.

Habitat: 

Moist woods, bogs, open swamps, ponds, streams, sandy margins of lakes, grey-birch scrub, pine barrens, mires, upland ericaceous meadows, ravines and mountain summits.

Key Uses: 

Food, drink, ornamental.

Known hazards: 

None known.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Asteranae
Order: 
Ericales
Family: 
Ericaceae
Genus: Vaccinium

About this species

Vaccinium corymbosum is cultivated in North America and West and Central Europe for its edible fruits, which are used to make pies, muffins, jams and syrups. It is a member of the heather, strawberry tree and rhododendron family (Ericaceae). There are about 500 species in the genus Vaccinium, including V. myrtillus (bilberry), V. oxycoccus (cranberry), V. macrocarpum (large American cranberry) and V. vitis-idaea (lingonberry or cowberry).

Vaccinium corymbosum was described by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 from material collected by Peter Kalm in eastern North America. The generic name Vaccinium is from the Latin for blueberry and the specific epithet corymbosum refers to the umbrella-like inflorescences.

Synonym: 

Cyanococcus corymbosus (L.) Rydb., Vaccinium atlanticum E.P. Bicknell, V.constablaei A. Gray

Genus: 
Vaccinium

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