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

Vaccinium uliginosum L.
bog blueberry (bog bilberry)
Ericaceae (Crowberry family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© David Blevins  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #394)

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

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Low, spreading shrub; stems 10-30 cm tall, not angled; young branches yellowish-green, minutely hairy; old branches greyish-red.
Alternate, deciduous, from broadly egg-shaped to oval or elliptic, 0.4-3 cm long, 0.2-1.5 cm wide, rounded at tips, tapered at base, glabrous or minutely hairy, green above, lower surfaces pale or with slight bloom, strongly net-veined, margins entire, rolled under somewhat.
Clusters of 1-4, in leaf axils; corollas pink, egg- to urn-shaped, 5-6 mm long, 4- to 5-lobed, the lobes curled back; calyces deeply 4- to 5-lobed, persistent on mature fruit; filaments glabrous; anthers awned, the pore-bearing terminal tubes about equaling the pollen sacs.
Berries, globe-shaped, 5-8 mm wide, blue, with a bloom; edible and sweet.
Two subspecies are recognized in BC:

1. Leaves hairy................. ssp. pubescens (Wormsk. ex Hornem.) S.B. Young

1. Leaves glabrous or minutely hairy........................ ssp. occidentale (A. Gray) Hult.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Blue
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Bogs, dry to wet rocky tundra, meadows, thickets and boggy forests in the lowland to alpine zones; frequent in coastal BC (ssp. occidentale), and in N BC (ssp. pubescens); circumboreal, N to AK, YT, and NT, E to NF and S to N MI, NY, and N CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Vaccinium uliginosum

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) 6 940 2205
Slope Gradient (%) 0 16 120
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 333 360
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: AT(2), BAFA(90), BWBS(74), CDF(2), CMA(13), CWH(142), ESSF(13), IMA(3), MH(63), SBS(7), SWB(79)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to alpine, circumpolar deciduous shrub (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on very moist to wet, nitrogen-poor soils within tundra, boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates.

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 not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Vaccinium occidentale A. Gray
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. alpinum (Bigelow) Hultén
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. gaultherioides (Bigelow) S.B. Young
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. microphyllum Lange
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. occidentale (A. Gray) Hultén
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. pedris (HarshA. Berger) S.B. Young
Vaccinium uliginosum subsp. pubescens (Wormsk. ex Hornem.) S.B. Young
Vaccinium uliginosum var. alpinum Bigelow
Vaccinium uliginosum var. occidentale (A. Gray) H. Hara
Vaccinium uliginosum var. salicinum (Cham.) Hultén

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References