Blueberry Vaccinium spp.
Family: Ericaceae (Heath)
Branching: Alternate

The genus Vaccinium is a large and complicated one, and includes shrubs such as Blueberries, Bilberries, Huckleberries (depending on nomenclature) and the evergreen Cranberries.  There are many species and even specialists do not agree on how many, or what they should be called.  Many of the species are quite difficult to separate, especially in the winter.  However, several characteristics make an identification to genus quite simple.  They are mostly low-growing, or sprawling shrubs with green twigs (sometimes reddish), and often they have hair or warty bumps.

Winter twig of a Vaccinium

Notice the green twigs, and on this particular plant, the warty bumps

Another view of a twig

A close-up of an end bud

This twig has a distinctive reddish hue

Typical appearance of a Vaccinium sprig

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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