Foraging Wild Fruit: Dwarf Huckleberry

Photo of Dwarf Huckleberry fruit

Dwarf Huckleberry (Gaylussacia bigeloviana) is a short native shrub of bogs and fens. This attractive member of the Heath family (Ericaceae) has white bell-shaped flowers in June and July which become juicy black fruits by August. Dwarf Huckleberry leaves are shiny on top, are somewhat leathery, though not evergreen, and have pointed tips. Leaves are also covered with resin dots, and leaf margins are fringed with fine hairs. The fruits, too, are conspicuously covered with short hairs (note especially the green fruits pictured below) and contain crunchy seeds.

Unlike Black Huckleberry, a close relative found in forests and fields nearly throughout New England, Dwarf Huckleberry has a more limited distribution. This shrub doesn't grow in Vermont, and is rare in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire; therefore, bogs and fens in parts of Maine and Massachusetts are where to look for this tasty wild food. (To view the following images in full-size, click here.)

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