Bilberry - Encyclopedia


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BILBERRY, BLAEBERRY Or Whortleberry, known botanically as Vaccinium myrtillus (natural order Ericaceae), a lowgrowing shrub, found in woods, copses and on heaths, chiefly in hilly districts. The stiff stems, from half a foot to two feet long, bear small ovate leaves with a serrate margin, and small, globose, rosy flowers tinged with green. The berries are dark blue, with a waxy bloom, and about one-third of an inch in diameter; they are used for tarts, preserves, &c. The plant is widely distributed throughout the north temperate and extends into the arctic zone. Cowberry is a closely allied species, V. Vitis-Idaea, growing in similar situations, but not found in the south-eastern portion of England, distinguished by its evergreen leaves and red acid berry.

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