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Vaccinium myrtilloides Michx.

Velvetleaf blueberry, velvetleaf huckleberry, sourtop blueberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
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
SpeciesmyrtilloidesResembling myrtle, from a Greek name for myrtle

About plant names...

Velvetleaf blueberry is a North American native.

Identification: These spreading shrubs are up to 20" (50 cm) in height, with stems covered with fine hairs. Leaves are deciduous, alternate, ⅞-1¼" (2.3-3.5 cm) × ¼-⅝" (8-16 mm), bright green above, much lighter below, covered with soft and velvety hairs. Flowers are white, urn-shaped, about ¹/₁₆-³/₁₆" (3-5 mm) in size, appearing May-June. Fruit is ⅛-¼" (6-8 mm) in diameter, usually blue with a whitish waxy bloom, sometimes purplish black.

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

Edibility: Edible, like most members of this genus, but fruit is more acid than most. Flowers are also edible.

Online References:

Ontario Trees & Shrubs

Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

The University of Michigan Herbarium

The New England Wildflower Society’s GoBotany site





Newcomb, Lawrence, Morrison, Gordon (Illus.), Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Little, Brown and Company, 1977, p. 298

Cyanococcus canadensis (Kalm ex A. Rich.) Rydb.

Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton var. myrtilloides (Michx.) House

Vaccinium canadense Kalm ex A. Rich.


Vaccinium myrtilloides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Vaccinium myrtilloides (velvetleaf blueberry, velvetleaf huckleberry, sourtop blueberry)

5/15/2015 · Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 6" (19 × 16 cm)

Vaccinium myrtilloides (velvetleaf blueberry, velvetleaf huckleberry, sourtop blueberry)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 18 × 15" (45 × 39 cm)


About this map...