Blueberry refers to
plants of the genus Vaccinium, which also includes cranberries,
bilberries (also called blueberry), and many wild shrubs producing
edible, round, blue berries (botanically false berries) with flared
"crowns" at the end. The fruit are first white, then
reddish-purple, and turn blue on ripening; the fruit are also
called blueberries, and have a sweet taste. Blueberries are used
in jellies, jams, pies, and many other snacks and delicacies.
Blueberries are both cultivated and picked wild. In North America,
the most common cultivated species is V. corymbosum, the Northern
Highbush Blueberry. Hybrids of this with other Vaccinium species,
are adapted to southern US climates and are known collectively
as Southern Highbush Blueberries.
smaller and much more expensive than cultivated ones, are prized
for their intense flavour and colour. The Lowbush Blueberry, V.
angustifolium, is found from Newfoundland westward and southward
to Michigan and West Virginia. In some areas it produces natural
blueberry barrens, where it is practically the only species covering
large areas. Several First Nations communities in Ontario are
involved in harvesting wild blueberries. In the US, Maine is the
largest producer of Lowbush Blueberries. The Maine crop requires
about 50,000 beehives for pollination, with most of the hives
being trucked in from other states for that purpose. Michigan,
New York, New Jersey and North Carolina are large producers of