Vaccinium parvifolium Sm.
Red Huckleberry, Red Blueberry
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
USDA Symbol: vapa
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 CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall, often much shorter.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AK , CA , OR , WA
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 ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rich, acid soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Birds and mammals eat berries.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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 ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Vaccinium parvifolium in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium parvifolium in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium parvifolium
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff