The Blue Ridge Blueberry-Vaccinium Pallidum
The Blue Ridge Blueberry produces blue, rarely black berries and has a bluish waxy coating. It is a deciduous perennial shrub that grows from 9 to 20 inches in height in the warm months and lies dormant in the cold months. It grows to full height in a year.
The shrub’s stems are covered with greenish brown to red bark. Its 2-6 inch oval leaves are green to yellow to bluish with a waxy undercoating and may even appear hairy. In the fall, the leaves all turn red. It bears cylindrical or urn-shaped flowers that are pink striped white, green and pinkish. The blueberries are less than ½ inch in diameter containing many small seeds. The fruit has a sweet to bland taste, and each berry is eight calories.
Bumblebees pollinate the flowers, and they blossom along roadsides and in fields. It grows abundantly in the understory of pine, oak, hemlock, maple and cherry trees. The Blue Ridge blueberry can grow in all types of soils: heavy clay, rocky, gravelly, dry and sandy soils. It prefers a humid environment.
It blooms in late May through late June, and it produces fruit throughout August. This plant is easy to identify in May through August when it is either in bloom or producing fruit.
It’s a part of the Heath family of plants. It grows primarily in Ontario, Canada, and surrounding areas. It grows in the United States from Maine to Wisconsin in the north. In the Midwest, it becomes in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri and as far south as Georgia and Louisiana. In Wisconsin, the Blue Ridge blueberry grows primarily in a 1,542 square mile area called the Northeast Sands. It grows best in zones 8 to 9.
The Blue Ridge Blueberry shrub is occasionally grown as an ornamental plant. Its fruit is primarily eaten by wildlife but is also harvested and sold in Alabama and Georgia. The fruit is often consumed raw and used to make pies and jellies.