Vaccinium sp. and Gaylussacia sp. in Central New Jersey

I am not very experienced with unusual blueberries. This does not include Pine Barrens species. I am not an expert, this is what I've learned so far:

The common highbush blueberry in central NJ is northern highbush blueberrry (V. corymbosum). It is generally taller than an adult, has spindly branches that can be green or red (or brown) and conspicuous red buds in winter. It has pale pink or white flowers and blue fruit, and the leaves do not have any resin dots but are minutely fringed on the edges. This is the blueberry sold in grocery stores. It often has blueberry stem galls, with a walnut-sized, lima-bean shaped growth that makes the stem bend at 90 degrees. Highbush blueberry grows in damp soil.

The common short blueberry in the Watchungs is Blue Ridge blueberry (V. pallidum). It is often only knee high, not above waist high, grows in dry soil, has very narrow, often green branches that are not smooth, and has leaves that often lack teeth. The fruit are small and dark blue.

The only other short blueberry is common lowbush (V. angustifolium). It always has teeth on the leaf edges and is never lighter below. Otherwise very like V. pallidum. Note that taller berry trees can be short when young or growing in adverse conditions.

Tall or tallish blueberries and huckleberries in order of how common they are here:
-northern highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum)
-black huckleberry (G. baccata)
-deerberry (V. stamineum)
-dangleberry (G. frondosa)

How to separate the tall species:

Flowers:
-narrow (longer than wide) and white or pale pink: highbush
-narrow (longer than wide) and dark pink/red: huckleberry
-broad (wider than long), white, but still bell shaped, narrowed near tip: dangleberry
-broad (wider than long), white, not bell shaped, spreading lobes: deerberry

Fruit:
-stem not much longer than fruit, blue: highbush
-stem not much longer than fruit, black: huckleberry
-stem much longer than fruit, fruit blue: dangleberry
-stem much longer than fruit, an odd bluish green: deerberry

Leaves:
-wide or narrow, with yellowish, sticky glands on both sides, no teeth: dangleberry
-not narrow, with yellowish, sticky glands only below, no teeth: huckleberry
-not narrow, no glands, often widest below middle, with ciliate edge, can be toothed: highbush
-not narrow, no glands, generally widest at middle, no teeth, no cilia on edge: deerberry

Buds:
-red and round: highbush
-red and sharp: huckleberry
-not red, but round: deerberry
-not red, but pointed: dangleberry.

Posted by srall srall, November 27, 2020 03:42 PM

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