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Vaccinium angustifolium var. nigrum

 

Black-fruited low-bush blueberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderEricalesTea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, azalea, many others
FamilyEricaceaeHeath or heather family
GenusVacciniumAncient Latin name for billberry
SpeciesangustifoliumLatin for “narrow leaf”
var.nigrum“Black”

About plant names...

Depending upon whom you ask, black-fruited blueberries are just a natural variant of normal blueberries, or a distinct sub-species. I think of them as distinct because the berries are shiny rather than glaucous (with a waxy whitish-blue coating), and because the berries seem even sweeter than blueberries. Also, I see them in more shaded habitats. If you’re a lumper, not a splitter, see this article on regular low-bush blueberries. I’m not confident that these are in fact low-bush blueberries of any kind—they could also be black-fruited highbush blueberries.

Identification: Plants are 4-12" (10-30 cm), often forming large colonies. Leaves are dark to pale green, elliptic or narrowly elliptic, ½-1½" (1.5-4.1 cm) × ⅛-⅝" (6-16 mm), with sharp, uniform, small serrations. Flowers are usually white, cylindrical or urn-shaped, ⅛-³/₁₆" (4-6 mm) long. Berries are black, ⅛-⅜" (3-12 mm) in diameter.

This Vaccinium comparison chart also includes a couple of similar-appearing species that are not Vaccinium.

Online References:

Vaccinium angustifolium var. nigrum on eFloras

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

5/18/2013 · Oak Hill, Littleton Conservation Land, Littleton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/25/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/25/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium var. nigrum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/25/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/27/2013 · Oak Hill, Littleton Conservation Land, Littleton, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/25/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 14 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

7/25/2013 · Beaver Brook Assn Conservation Lands, Rte. 130, Hollis, NH
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

Vaccinium angustifolium (Black-fruited low-bush blueberry)

5/18/2013 · Oak Hill, Littleton Conservation Land, Littleton, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 12 cm)