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

Vaccinium membranaceum Douglas ex Torr.
black huckleberry (black blueberry; thinleaf huckleberry)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #32549)

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Distribution of Vaccinium membranaceum
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Species Information

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Medium-sized shrub; stems erect to spreading, densely-branched, to 1.5 m tall; young twigs somewhat angled, yellow-green, glabrous or slightly hairy; old bark greyish and shredding.
Alternate, deciduous, egg-shaped to elliptic-oblong, 1.5-6 cm long, (0.6) 1-3 cm wide, gradually narrowing to pointed tip, rounded to tapered at base, margins finely toothed nearly full length, obscurely veined and not lustrous, sparsely glandular and somewhat paler on the lower surfaces.
Solitary in leaf axils, appearing when or after the leaves expand; flower stalks 5-10 mm long; corollas pale yellowish-pink, urn-shaped, 4-6 mm long, about 3/4 as wide; calyces shallowly lobed, lobes deciduous in fruit; filaments glabrous, shorter than anthers; anthers awned, with slender, terminal tubes.
Berries, globe-shaped, 7-10 mm wide, purple or dark purplish-reddish, without a pale bloom; edible and sweet.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist forests and openings in the montane and subalpine zones; common throughout BC, except on the Queen Charlotte Islands; N to SE YT, E to AB, and S to ID, MT, and N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccinium membranaceum

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 1302 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 25 250
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 238 360
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(18), bafa(8), BWBS(206), CMA(5), CWH(418), ESSF(6693), ICH(3684), IDF(298), IMA(3), MH(479), MS(935), PP(2), SBPS(110), SBS(2191), SWB(76)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region (reported in the Central region). Occurs in boreal and cool temperate climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen­poor soils; its occurrence increases with increasing elevation 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 coccineum Piper
Vaccinium membranaceum var. rigidum (Hook.) Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References