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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 8 | Ericaceae | Vaccinium

10. Vaccinium membranaceum Douglas ex Torrey in C. Wilkes et al., U.S. Expl. Exped. 17: 377. 1874.

Thinleaf huckleberry

Vacciniumcoccineum Piper; V. globulare Rydberg; V. membranaceum var. rigidum (Hooker) Fernald

Plants forming small to extensive clumps, rarely crown-forming, 2-30 dm, not rhizomatous; twigs of current season yellow-green or reddish green, terete to slightly angled, glabrous or hairy in lines. Leaf blades usually green, broadly elliptic to ovate, 25-50 × 11-23 mm, margins sharply serrate, surfaces glandular abaxially. Flowers: calyx green, obscurely lobed, glabrous; corolla white, cream, yellowish pink, or bronze, globose to urceolate, 3-5 × 5-7 mm, thin, glaucous; filaments glabrous. Berries shiny or dull black or deep purple, rarely red or white, 9-13 mm diam. Seeds ca. 1 mm. 2n = 48.

Flowering late spring-early summer. Coniferous woods, especially cut-over stands, talus slopes, subalpine fir forests, alpine heaths; 900-3500 m; Alta., B.C., Ont.; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mich., Mont., Oreg., S.Dak., Utah, Wash., Wyo.

Vaccinium membranaceum is, by far, the most widely commercially utilized western huckleberry for fruit and is harvested extensively from the wild. This species served as an especially important source of food for native peoples throughout western North America, and the dried berries were used for winter food and trade.


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