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plant of the large genus Vaccinium, widely distributed shrubs (occasionally small trees) of the family Ericaceae (heath family), usually found on acid soil. They are often confused with the related huckleberry.
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any plant of the genus Gaylussacia, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to North and South America. The box huckleberry (G. brachycera) of E North America is evergreen and is often cultivated. The common huckleberry (G.
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(Vaccinium myrtillus), sometimes called bilberry, a low shrub (15–40 cm tall) of the family Vacciniaceae. The branches are angularly ribbed, and the leaves fall for the winter. The solitary drooping flowers are urceolate-spherical in shape and greenish pink in coloration. The fruit is a nearly round black berry with a blue-gray bloom. The whortleberry occurs in Eurasia and North America, in damp or marshy coniferous and mixed forests (often referred to as whortleberry forests). In the USSR the whortleberry is common in the taiga, the tundra, and high-elevation regions. The berry is edible in fresh and dried form; its juice is used for coloring wines. Infusions, teas, or cornstarch puddings made from the berries are used as binding agents to treat diarrhea. The related species V. arctostaphylos, which occurs in the Caucasus, is a tall shrub or small tree (up to 3 m tall) with edible berries. The whortleberry is sometimes assigned to the family Ericaceae, with Vaccinoidea designated as a subfamily.