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

Vaccinium alaskaense Howell
Alaskan blueberry (Alaska blueberry)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Rosemary Taylor  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20516)

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Distribution of Vaccinium alaskaense
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Species Information

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Erect to spreading shrub; stems 0.5-2 m tall; young twigs somewhat angled, yellow-green, glabrous or very finely hairy; old bark greyish.
Alternate, deciduous, oval to egg-shaped, (1) 2-7 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, entire or inconspicuously toothed, the teeth mostly below midlength, tips usually pointed, bases pointed to blunt, lower surface distinctly lighter, more or less with a bloom, with midnerve sparsely hairy with coarse, stiff, glandular hairs.
Solitary in leaf axils, appearing when or after the leaves expand; flower stalks 5-15 mm long, usually at least 10 mm long in fruit, straight or nearly straight, somewhat enlarged immediately below the ovary; corollas bronzy-pink, globe- to urn-shaped, as wide as, or wider than long, widest just above the base, about 7 mm long; calyces obscurely lobed or wavy, lobes deciduous in fruit; styles usually slightly exserted; filaments glabrous, shorter than the anthers; anthers awned, with terminal pores.
Berries, globe- to pear-shaped, 7-12 mm wide, bluish-black to purplish-black, without a bloom; good flavour.
Some authors (e.g., Vander Kloet 1988) combine V. alaskaense with V. ovalifolium. However, the two species have different though overlapping ranges, and they segregate along several environmental gradients, as data from 4750 study releves indicate (Pojar et al. 1997). The trends are for more V. ovalifolium and less V. alaskaense with increasing elevation, decreasing maritime influence, and on wetter sites. When growing together they can be difficult to differentiate initially. However, with some experience field workers have no problem distinguishing them by a combination of leaf, flower and fruit characters, as in the key and descriptions.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist forests and forest openings in the lowland, montane, and subalpine zones; common along the coast of BC, rare E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to S AK and S to NW OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccinium alaskaense

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) 0 431 2500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 28 410
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 251 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
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: CMA(3), CWH(2907), ESSF(16), ICH(111), IDF(1), MH(484), MS(3), SBS(35), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant, submontane to subalpine, Pacific North American deciduous shrub. Occurs in hypermaritime to maritime subalpine boreal and summer-wet cool mesothermal climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen­poor soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing precipitation and continentality.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 subalpine boreal & cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Vaccinium alaskense T.J. Howell [orthographic variant]
Vaccinium alaskense

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References