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Vaccinium parvifolium

Vaccinium parvifolium Sm.

Red Huckleberry, Red Blueberry

Ericaceae (Heath Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

A graceful, somewhat straggling shrub with slim branches, bright yellow-green leaves and sparkling-red berries. The plant generally is 3-12 ft. high but can reach 20 ft. The reddish, edible berry is preceded by white to greenish flowers in ones or twos. Reddish leaves cling to the bright green branches well into fall.

The Red Huckleberry is a member of the heath family (family Ericaceae) which is widespread, especially on acid soils, with about 1500 species, mostly shrubs, sometimes trees; 15 native tree and many native shrub species in North America. Leaves: usually alternate, simple, elliptical, and not toothed often thick and evergreen, without stipules.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , CA , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: CA Coast Ranges from Santa Cruz Mts. & Sierras from Fresno Co., n. (w. of Cascades) to s.e. AK
Native Habitat: Dry to moist, conifer woods & openings below 5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rich, acid soils.


Use Wildlife: Birds and mammals eat berries.
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Seeds, layering or softwood cuttings taken in spring can start this species. It will also root from hardwood cuttings of unbranched shoots of previous season. Seeds may need to be stratified and should be sown on a slightly acid soil mix.
Seed Treatment: Stratify for 60-90 days at 41 degrees. No treatment may give good results.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Vaccinium parvifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium parvifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium parvifolium


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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