Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

– The name huckleberry is a North American variation of the English dialectal name hurtleberry or whortleberry for the bilberry.
– In North America, the name was applied to numerous plant variations with small berries in red, blue, or black colors.
– It is the common name for various Gaylussacia species and some Vaccinium species like Vaccinium parvifolium, the red huckleberry.
– The name is also used for other Vaccinium species known as blueberries based on local custom.
– The term huckleberry has different variations in different regions like New England and parts of Appalachia.

– The plant has shallow, radiating roots with a bush growing from an underground stem.
– Huckleberries are small, round berries, 5–10 millimeters in diameter, resembling large dark lowbush blueberries.

– Two huckleberry species, V. membranaceum and V. ovatum, were studied for phytochemical content.
– V. ovatum had higher total anthocyanin and polyphenols compared to V. membranaceum.
– Both species contained 15 anthocyanins in different proportions.
– Anthocyanins present include delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, and malvidin in various glycoside forms.

– Four common huckleberry species in the genus Gaylussacia are found in eastern North America, especially G. baccata, known as the black huckleberry.

– Red huckleberries like V. parvifolium are found in coastal Central California through British Columbia.
– Huckleberries like V. membranaceum and V. deliciosum grow in various habitats in the Pacific Northwest and mountains of Montana and Idaho.
– Huckleberries thrive in damp, acidic soil of volcanic origin and can grow up to 1.5 to 2 meters in height.
– Certain species like V. membranaceum, V. parvifolium, and V. deliciosum are used in ornamental plantings.
– The garden huckleberry (Solanum scabrum) is not a true huckleberry but belongs to the nightshade family.

Distribution and habitat:
– Huckleberries grow in the wild in northwestern United States and western Canada in subalpine slopes, forests, bogs, and lake basins.

– Traditionally collected by Native American and First Nations people for food or traditional medicine.
– Versatile in various food and beverage preparations.
– Attempts to cultivate huckleberry plants from seeds have failed due to challenges in replicating native soil conditions.
– Huckleberries are known for their tart taste and large bitter seeds.
– The fruit is used in a wide range of culinary applications like jam, pie, ice cream, and syrup.

Huckleberry (Wikipedia)

Huckleberry is a name used in North America for several plants in the family Ericaceae, in two closely related genera: Vaccinium and Gaylussacia.

Bog huckleberries
« Back to Glossary Index