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Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Gaylussacia baccata

Gaylussacia baccata (Wangenh.) K. Koch

Black Huckleberry

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Decachaena baccata

USDA Symbol: gaba

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

A much-branched, stiff, colony-forming shrub, usually 1-3 ft. tall, with pink to red, tubular flowers in axillary panicles on the previous season growth. Purplish-black, edible berries follow. The small, oval leaves turn shades of orange and crimson in the fall. An upright-branching shrub with small leaves and blue-black berries.

The fruit on this shrub makes it a valuable plant for wildlife.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Black

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Orange
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Pink to orange to red.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to Man., s. to GA & LA
Native Habitat: Dry or moist, open woods; thickets; clearings

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: A good ground cover for thin, rocky woods.


Use Wildlife: Fruits and twigs are used by many forms of wildlife.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds


Description: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: Fruits may be stripped from branches by hand or with a blueberry rake. Extract seeds by macerating the berries in water.
Seed Treatment: Untreated seeds are slow to germinate. Warm stratification for 30 days followed by incubation with cold temperature has enhanced germination.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants 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:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 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

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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