Plants and People Project

Blueberries - vaccinium

American Indians made a medicine from the leaves and the dried flowers. Peterson Field Guide Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, 1990.

An interesting "use was discovered in World War II by pilots flying night sorties. They would eat bilberry jam before leaving on their missions, and found their night-vision was markedly improved." Laurentian Environmental Center.

The bushes can be planted to make an appealing hedge row that turns a brilliant scarlet in the fall.

Insects are attracted to the nectar of the flowers.

The dark blue berries of the blueberry are a favorite summer food of humans, birds and other wildlife. Jams, buckles, pies, salads and crisps are made from the fruits.

My neighbor, Bill Burkey, has been a farmer for many decades. He told me to leave the blueberries on for 10 days to let their flavor fully develop and sweeten.

"Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Center have found that blueberries rank No. 1 in antioxidant benefits, compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful “free radicals” that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases." Blueberry Nutrition Facts

Identification and facts / More facts


ripening blueberries

Blueberries ripening on a bush in summer

A year in the life of a blueberry bush

Wild blueberry

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green ivy rule

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Posted 7/14/05 Cindy O'Hora