[Vaccinium coccineum Piper, more]
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.
Plant: Shrub, ± glabrous; rhizome generally 0; stem erect, generally 5-15 dm, not rooting; twigs weakly angled, yellowish green Leaves: simple, alternate, deciduous, 2-5 cm; blade generally ovate to elliptic or obovate, very thin, membranous, serrate, teeth generally with a gland-tipped hair, base often rounded to truncate, tip acute, lower surface with prominent veins INFLORESCENCE: flowers solitary in axils of lowest leaves of youngest shoots; bractlets 2, scale-like; pedicels not jointed to flower Flowers: calyx lobes ± 0; corolla < 6 mm, cylindric to urn-shaped, pinkish; stamens 8 or 10, filaments generally glabrous, anthers elongate, dehiscent by pores on small tubes, anthers awned; ovary inferior, chambers 4-5 (or appearing 10 by intrusion of ovary wall), placentas axile, stigma head-like Fruit: berry, 9-11 mm diam, generally black (dark red); Seeds generally many Misc: Wet meadows, mtn slopes; 1100-2200 m.