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Vaccinium membranaceum Douglas ex Torr.
Thinleaf Huckleberry, Square-twig Blueberry, Mountain Huckleberry
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Synonym(s): Vaccinium coccineum, Vaccinium globulare, Vaccinium membranaceum var. rigidum
USDA Symbol: VAME
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A spreading shrub, 1 1/2-6 ft. tall, with small oval leaves and single, white to pale yellowish-pink flowers hanging on short pedicels from leaf axils. The tubular flowers are followed by edible, dark purple berries.
This is an important and nutritious food source for Black and Grizzly Bears, which consume not only the berries but also other plant parts, as well as deer, Elk, Moose, and Ruffed Grouse.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Fruit: Black or deep purple, rarely red or white.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: White, cream, yellowish pink or bronze.
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , ID , MI , MN , MT , OR , SD , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: B.C. to n. CA, e. to MT & ID; also two occurences in the Black Hills
Native Habitat: Conifer woods on mt. slopes
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Moist to mesic, acid soil.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Vaccinium species are propagated by seeds, cuttings and rooted suckers of offshoots.
Seed Treatment: Dormancy varies. A 3 month cold-moist stratification may be necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.2 - Berry Browsing in the Backyard, Director\'s Report, Essays on Trillium\'s, Natio...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Vaccinium membranaceum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium membranaceum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium membranaceum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff