En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Sunday - April 14, 2013

From: Vancouver, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?

ANSWER:

Is this a trick question? Please read this webite: What is the Difference Between Blueberry and Huckleberry? Also read this article from GardenGuides.com and note especially this paragraph on "Origins."

"Origins

The blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and huckleberry (Gaylussacia spp.) species familiar to Americans are native to North America, growing in moist acidic soils in forests and scrublands. The blueberries most often grown in the United States are native to either the eastern woodlands or the montane forests of extreme western North America from California to Alaska. Other Vaccinium species grow naturally in Asia and Europe. Huckleberries include 40 species of shrubs from both North and South America, but the few frequently grown for fruit in the United States are native to either eastern North America's woodlands or the western coastal ranges from California to southern Alaska."

We first searched our Native Plant Database on "blueberry," and found 18 plants with that word in their common name. Of that, there were 6 members of the Vaccinium genus, Ericacaceae family called blueberries native to Washington. When we searched on "huckleberry," we found 5 members of the Vaccinium genus, Ericaceae family native to Washington. Three, from both lists, were the same plant!

Vaccinium membranaceum (Mountain huckleberry)

Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry)

Vaccinium parvifolium (Red blueberry)

If you follow those plant links to the webpage on each plant, you will find that both common names are listed for each plant. Apparently, the genus Gaylussacia, also frequently with both common names, does not grow natively in Washington at all.

So, are you worried about the two species of the same genus hybridizing with each other? Since they grow natively in the wild, probably they already have, naturally. I would say they could be planted together, absolutely. In fact, you could plant two of the same plant from the list above, and STILL have a blueberry planted next to a huckleberry.

Just to make it more interesting, our Image Gallery had no pictures of the three plants we listed as dual named. Probably this means no one else could tell the difference, either.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Problems with non-native Eugenia in Scottsdale AZ
June 02, 2012 - I have 5 eugenia topiaries in my courtyard in pots..I notice as the days here in Phoenix get hotter and dry (as usual) they are starting to look bad, even though they are under a shelter out of the di...
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to transplant Esperanza bushe in Buda, TX?
September 04, 2013 - When is the best time to transplant an Esperanza bush? I want to move it because it is overwhelming my front yard. Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
view the full question and answer

Bulletproof plants from Burleson TX
April 18, 2013 - I recently wrote you a question concerning planting a privacy plant consisting of wax leaf ligustrum on my country property. Your answer was immediate (thank you-I am impressed). I like the wax leaf ...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Silky Sophora by seed from Elmendorf TX
July 24, 2013 - I have some seed for the Sophora nutalliana. What is the best way to germinate this seed?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center