Sunday, March 21, 2010

Botany of Blueberry

Botany of Blueberry
Vaccinium corymbosum, which makes up much of the genetic material of the northern highbush blueberry, belongs to the section Cyannococcus (“cyano” means blue and “coccus” means berry.)

Vaccinium angustifolium, V. myrtillodes and six other species (V. boreale, V. darrowii, V. hirsutum, V. myrsinites, V. pallidum and V. tenellum) also belong to this section.

Vaccinium corymbosum was first named by Linnaeus and is probably combination of three or more species that evolved long ago and produced the variable ‘combination” species that have today.

Vaccinium corymbosum grows wild in eastern North American from Nova Scotia and Quebec in Canada as far west as northeastern Illinois, northern Indiana and the more southerly parts of Michigan.

Its range also extends eastwards to the coast and south into North Carolina, the greatest concentration being in New Jersey.

Here, wild plants grow by the roadside un the federally protected are of the Pinelands, east of Philadelphia and inland from Atlantic City.

They thrive in the dappled shade provided by the pigmy pines and Atlantic white cedars.

They have formed colonies in clearings create by logging and for farming.

Vaccinium pensylvanicum, a ,lowbush blueberry, also grows here and there is evidence of natural hybridization between the species.

Vaccinium corymbosum extends south into the Carolinas and as far as Florida where the picture becomes somewhat blurred since V. ashei, the rabbiteye blueberry, take over.
Botany of Blueberry

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