En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA

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 Edible Plants Questions

Wine from Ampelopsis arborea?
September 06, 2006 - Hello, can you eat or make wine from the fruit of Ampelopsis arborea? I have found a few vines that are very fruitful and are ready to pick!
view the full question and answer

Jersalem artichoke as a medicinal herb
February 05, 2011 - I am having trouble with high cholesterol and coming up on being borderline diabetic and I am overweight. I know that Jerusalum Artichoke helps lower blood sugar. Am into herbs and J.A. is hard to l...
view the full question and answer

Is it possible to eat one nightshade berry and live?
September 16, 2012 - Can I eat one nightshade berry and live? I am 18.
view the full question and answer

Edible fruits and plants in Pennsylvania
May 15, 2008 - Can you give me a list of edible berries and plants that someone might find if they were hiking through the forest of Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

How to remove tannins from acorns
September 21, 2008 - On your web page it says that the edible acorns (example: Chinkapin Oak) are edible if boiled, but the wikipedia article on "Acorn" says that "Boiling unleached acorns may actually cause the tannin...
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