Black Huckleberry – 5/27/19

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 4:20 p.m.

Observation Location: Beneath high tension wires near So. Walpole St.

Common Name: Black Huckleberry

Scientific Name: Gaylussacia baccata

Comments: These are the distinctive bright red unopened flower buds of black huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata. They are typically no more than waist-high. They often form a near-continuous shrub layer in dryish oak woods. In moister soils they tend to be replaced by dangleberry, Gaylussacia frondosa. 

Blueberry bushes are similar, but have green rather than blackish second-year twigs. The berries of huckleberries are very similar to the berries of blueberries, except the latter usually contain more seeds (8-20) that are smaller in size. The foliage and woody stems of Black Huckleberry are quite similar to those of low-bush blueberries (particularly Vaccinium pallidum), except the leaf undersides of the former shrub are covered with resinous yellow dots, while the leaf undersides of blueberries lack such resinous dots.

More Information: Illinois Wildflowers