Vaccinium (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Vaccinium (Sturtevant, 1919)

Vaccinium caespitosum Michx.

Vacciniaceae. DWARF BILBERRY.

Alpine regions of northeastern United States. A small bush, says Mueller, with bluish, edible berries.

Vaccinium canadense Kalm.


Canada and Maine to Wisconsin and the Rocky Mountains. The berry is blue and sweet.

Vaccinium corymbosum Linn.


Northeastern United States and southward. The berries are often large, black, with a bluish bloom and of a sprightly, acidulous taste. This blueberry has been recommended by horticulturists for cultivation and in some of its varieties is very deserving.

Vaccinium erythrocarpum Michx.

Pennsylvania to Georgia on high mountains. The transparent, scarlet berries are of excellent taste.

Vaccinium leschenaultii Wight.

Neilgherries. The berries, about the size of red currants, are agreeably acid and make excellent tarts. Mueller says of Ceylon also, a tree, flowering and fruiting throughout the year.

Vaccinium leucanthum Schlecht.

Mexico. The black fruit is edible.

Vaccinium maderense Link.


Madeira. The berries are black, juicy, eatable and gratefully acid.

Vaccinium meridionale Sw.


Jamaica. The berries are sapid, red, acid, astringent, bitter and, like bilberries, they make good jelly. This species is grown in the Public Gardens of Jamaica.

Vaccinium mortinia Benth.


Ecuador and the mountains of Columbia. The berries come to the Quito market under the name of mortinia.

Vaccinium myrtillus Linn.


North temperate and arctic regions. The Highlanders of Scotland frequently eat the berries in milk and sometimes make them into tarts and jellies. In the Orkneys, the blaeberry grows in abundance, the fruit of large size; wine of fine flavor has been made from it. Johnson says the berries are slightly acid and sweetish but do not possess much flavor in the raw state, though liked by some persons. They are sold in the English markets. This is a favorite food of the Rocky Mountain Indians.

Vaccinium ovalifolium Sm.

Northern North America. The berries are gathered before quite ripe, are pressed into a cake, then dried and laid by. When used, a quantity is put into a vessel of cold water and stirred rapidly with the hand until it assumes a form not unlike soapsuds. It is pleasant to the taste, with a slightly bitter flavor.

Vaccinium parvifolium Sm.


Northwest coast of North America. The berries are red and make excellent tarts. The berries are of good size and flavor.

Vaccinium pensylvanicum Lam.


Northern America, producing many varieties. The berries says Pursh, are large, bluish-black, extremely sweet and agreeable to eat. Gray says the berries are large and sweet and the earliest blueberry in the market. Emerson says the berries are blue, very sweet, rather soft for marketing, but are particularly suited to be preserved by drying. Kalm says the Indians formerly plucked huckleberries in abundance every year, dried them in the sun, and preserved them for eating. In 1615, Champlain found the Indians near Lake Huron gathering blueberries for their winter store. Roger Williams says of the New England Indians that they "gathered attitaash, worthleberries, of which there are divers sorts: sweet, like currants, some opening, some of a binding nature. Sautaash are these currants dried and so preserved all the year, which they beat to powder and mingle with their parched meal and make a delicate dish which they call sautauthig, which is as sweet to them as plum or spice cake to the English." The Indians of the Northwest coast are very fond of this fruit and smoke-dry it in large quantities for winter use.

Vaccinium praestans Lamb.


Kamchatka. This is a minute plant but with large, delicious fruits.

Vaccinium salicinum Cham. & Schlecht.

Alaska. The berries are collected and dried by the natives.

Vaccinium stamineum Linn.


Northern United States. Elliott says the berries are eaten. The Indians of Wisconsin and Michigan make extensive use of the fruit. Emerson says the fruit is scarcely eatable.

Vaccinium uliginosum Linn.


Northern climates. Don says the berries are large, juicy, black, covered with a mealy bloom, eatable, but neither grateful nor wholesome. The berries, says Johnson, are eaten occasionally but in any "large quantity cause giddiness and headache." In Siberia, the berries are fermented, distilled and furnish a strong alcoholic spirit. It is said that the berries are used in France to color wine. Richardson says, beyond the Arctic circle this species is, in good seasons, plentiful to an extraordinary degree and is of a finer quality than in more southern localities.

Vaccinium vacillans Soland.


From Massachusetts and Vermont to Pennsylvania. This vaccinium has a small bush, with rather late-ripening berries.

Vaccinium vitis-idaea Linn.


Northern and arctic regions. This is the wi-sa-gu-mina of the Crees and the cranberry most plentiful and most used throughout Rupert's Land. This berry, says Richardson, is excellent for every purpose to which a cranberry can be applied. Thoreau, in the Maine woods, made his desserts on these berries stewed and sweetened, but Gray says they are barely edible in America. The fruit is not much eaten in Britain but is greatly valued in Sweden. The berries are tasteless and but little acid when, gathered but, after exposure to frost, they become very sour. They are often sold in the London market as cranberries. In Siberia, they are kept in water in winter, where they acquire their proper acidity and are eaten in spring.6