E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Vaccinium myrtillus L.
low bilberry (dwarf bilberry; whortleberry)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8182)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Vaccinium myrtillus
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Species Information

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Low, many-branched shrub; stems up to 30 cm tall, green to greenish-brown, strongly angled, usually minutely hairy, especially in the grooves.
Alternate, deciduous, egg-shaped to elliptic-lanceolate, 1-3 cm long, light green, margins sharply toothed, tips pointed to blunt, strongly veined with prominent midrib on the lower surfaces.
Solitary in leaf axils; flower stalks nodding, 2-3 mm long; corollas pinkish, urn bell-shaped, about 5 mm long; calyces very shallowly lobed, nearly obsolete; filaments glabrous; anthers with dorsal awns, the pore-bearing terminal tubes about equaling the pollen sacs.
Berries, globe-shaped, 4-8 mm wide, dark red to blue-black; edible and sweetish.
Often confused with V. scoparium, however, branches are minutely-hairy and are thicker and less numerous than in V. scoparium, giving it a more open habit. The plant, leaves, and flowers are also larger and the berries darker.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic forests in the montane zone; frequent in SE BC, infrequent in SC BC; circumpolar, E to SW AB, and S to NM; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccinium myrtillus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 6 1629 2515
Slope Gradient (%) 0 30 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 15 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(14), BWBS(6), ESSF(473), ICH(105), IDF(13), MS(121), SBPS(1), SBS(11)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Vaccinium myrtillus subsp. oreophilum (Rydb.) A. Löve & D. Löve & Kapoor
Vaccinium myrtillus var. oreophilum (Rydb.) Dorn
Vaccinium oreophilum Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

General References