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Vaccinium myrtillus

Vaccinium myrtillus

Vaccinium myrtillus

Vaccinium myrtillus (Blueberry)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Subalpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Above: Bolam Pass Road, June 8, 2016.
Left: Horse Creek Trail, June 7, 2004.

The San Juan Mountains of Colorado, and nearby mountains in the other Four Corners states, have several species of Vaccinium, but Vaccinium myrtillus is by far the most common and is also one of the most common plants throughout these mountains.  It is especially abundant underneath Spruce where it often carpets the acidic ground in a soft pattern of small, green leaves.

Unfortunately Vaccinium myrtillus produces few of its tiny, white-to-pink, bell flowers and therefore often has no fruit.  But when the fruit is there, it is luscious.
 

Vaccinium myrtillus

Linnaeus named this species and genus in 1753.  "Vaccinium" is from the Latin for "cows" (as in "vaccine") and "myrtillus" means "myrtle-like".

Vaccinium myrtillus
Vaccinium myrtillus (Blueberry)
Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Subalpine. Woodlands. Spring.
Upper West Mancos Trail, October 1, 2010.

Fall color of Vaccinium myrtillus is often yellow but shades of maroon are common.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Vaccinium myrtillus