Most of the huckelberries I remember were about 1-2’ high and was in a spreading type patch. You have me thinking about looking over some of these patches and marking some of the better looking plants for later removal.
That’s what I knew as blueberries as well until I was in junior high when my mom bought some rabbit eye blueberries. Its funny, when the rabbit eye blueberries matured and started producing, everyone in the family still thought the huckleberries were better. They are less sweet of course. By the way, the sour nature of that feral stand of rabbit eye blueberries is not at all objectionable to me. The more assertive flavors of the huckleberry and less “improved” rabbit eye blueberries makes for more flavorful cobblers and jams in my opinion. The only downside to huckleberries is that it takes a lot longer to pick them on account of their size.
Today I was reminded that V. elliottii eventually gets quite a bit bigger than V. ashei. There is a huckleberry bush leaning over Winlo Lake (our private 8 acre pond) that is over 15 ft high and spreads a good ten feet out over the lake. I’m guessing that’s a very, very old bush. But they do get that big. Unfortunately that bush has never produced very big berries. However it does produce lots and lots of berries every year since it stands next to a source of water and gets plenty of sun. God bless.
The plants you are talking about might be a different species. Vaccinium tennellum is similar but has bigger leaves and only gets about belly button high on a good day. The leaves of V. elliottii are less than an inch long, and a mature bush is V. ashei size or bigger. There is also V. microphylla which is another low grower with tiny, tiny very dark green leaves. God bless.
Well, it’s been a while since I posted on this topic, but since my huckleberries are beginning to ripen, I figured that I would give an update and show some pictures. Despite some close calls with freezes, I have a massive huckleberry crop about to ripen. As you can see in the photos below, I have a few berries about to ripen. Huckleberries bloom so early that they get yacked by frost about as often as they make. But when they do make, they reward handsomely. The berries are small, so picking takes time, but if they make, they make in abundance. God bless.
It takes forever to pick huckleberries, but they are worth it. The crop is just starting and lasts for a good month. I try to pick every other day to keep the birds from getting all of them. Fortunately I do have a pear of guard mocking birds again this year. They are good for chasing the brown thrashers and other birds away. Rabbit Eye blueberries are never so lucky because the mocking birds are finished nesting by the time they ripen. It’s better feeding one pair of mocking birds than hundreds of every kind of bird and their babies. God bless.
Berries already? My potted blueberries are still blooming here.
Vaccinium elliottii is always very, very early. Here they often start blooming in January. The rabbit eye blueberries wont start ripening until the end of may or early June, at about the time that the huckleberries are finished.
A YouTube video of me talking about growing wild berries using Vaccinium elliottii as an example.