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– Etymology and Common Names:
– The name bilberry has a Scandinavian origin, possibly from as early as 1577.
– In Scandinavian languages, terms for bilberries have names that carry the meaning blueberry.
– In Scottish and Northern English regional dialects, bilberries are known as blaeberry.
– In Southern England, bilberries are referred to as whortleberry.
– The name bilberry may have derived from the Danish word for whortleberry with the addition of berry.

– Description and Species:
– Bilberries are native to Europe and are different from North American blueberries.
– Bilberries are non-climacteric fruits with a smooth, circular outline.
– Bilberries grow singly or in pairs and are dark in color, often appearing near black with a shade of purple.
– Bilberries and blueberries contain diverse anthocyanins, specifically delphinidin and cyanidin glycosides.
– There are several closely related species of bilberries within the genus Vaccinium.

– Wild and Cultivated Harvesting:
– Bilberries are found in acidic, nutrient-poor soils in temperate and subarctic regions.
– Bilberries are difficult to grow and are mostly collected from wild plants.
– In Sweden, up to a fifth of the land area contains bilberry bushes.
– Bilberries are softer and juicier than blueberries, making them difficult to transport.
– Frozen bilberries are available year-round in many parts of Europe.

– Research:
– Low-quality clinical research has shown no evidence that consuming bilberries improves night vision.
– Bilberries have been used in folklore and traditional medicine, but there are no proven health benefits.

– Diseases:
Bilberry plants can suffer from bilberry blight caused by Phytophthora kernoviae.
– Severe outbreaks of bilberry blight have been reported in Staffordshire, England.

Bilberry (Wikipedia)

Bilberries (/ˈbɪlbəri/) or blueberries are primarily Eurasian low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae), bearing edible, dark blue berries. The species most often referred to is Vaccinium myrtillus L., but there are several other closely related species.

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