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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Rosemary Taylor     (Photo ID #20516)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Vaccinium alaskaense
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
431 0 2500
Slope Gradient (%)
28 0 410

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

251 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 0 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Vaccinium alaskense T.J. Howell [orthographic variant]
Vaccinium alaskense