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

Vaccinium caespitosum Michx., orth. var.
dwarf blueberry (bilberry; dwarf bilberry)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #76470)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Vaccinium caespitosum
Click here to view our interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this species.

Low, spreading, matted shrub; stems (5) 10-30 cm tall, rounded, yellowish-green to reddish bark, usually finely hairy.
Alternate, deciduous, thin, prominently net-veined below, oblanceolate to egg-shaped, 1-3 cm long, 2-15 mm wide, tips pointed to blunt, tapered to the base, margins finely toothed in upper half, the teeth usually gland-tipped, light green on both surfaces.
Solitary in leaf axils, nodding; flower stalks short, curved downward; corollas whitish to pink, narrowly tubular urn-shaped, 4-6 mm long, twice as long as wide; calyces obscurely lobed, the lobes very short, deciduous in fruit; filaments glabrous, longer than anthers; anthers awned, with slender terminal tubes.
Berries, nearly globe-shaped, 5-8 mm wide, light blue to blackish-blue with a pale grey bloom; sweet and palatable.
A variable species sometimes separated into two or more varieties.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to wet forests, bogs, meadows, rocky ridges and tundra in the lowland to alpine zones; common throughout BC; N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF, and S to CA, CO, MN, and NY.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccinium caespitosum

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 1164 2434
Slope Gradient (%) 0 12 200
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 196 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 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: AT(24), BAFA(53), BWBS(323), CMA(15), CWH(106), ESSF(723), ICH(139), IDF(317), IMA(15), MH(74), MS(433), PP(2), SBPS(334), SBS(957), SWB(158)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to alpine, transcontinental North American deciduous shrub. Occurs in boreal and cool temperate climates on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-poor soils; its occurrence increases with increasing latitude 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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Vaccinium arbuscula (Gray) Merriam
Vaccinium caespitosum var. arbuscula Gray
Vaccinium caespitosum var. caespitosum Michx. [superfluous autonym]
Vaccinium caespitosum var. paludicola (Camp) HultTn
Vaccinium cespitosum Michx.
Vaccinium cespitosum var. arbuscula Gray [orthographic variant]
Vaccinium cespitosum var. cespitosum Michx. [orthographic variant]
Vaccinium cespitosum var. paludicola (Camp) Hulten [orthographic variant]
Vaccinium nivictum Camp

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References