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Taxon: Vaccinium myrtillus L.

Genus: Vaccinium section: Myrtillus
Family: Ericaceae subfamily: Vaccinioideae tribe: Vaccinieae
Nomen number: 41040
Place of publication: Sp. pl. 1:349. 1753
Typification: View record from Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum of London.
Name verified on: 14-Jan-2010 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 14-Jan-2010
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Corvallis (COR).
Accessions: 42 in National Plant Germplasm System.
  • all available ) NPGS accessions. or .
  • all available ) NPGS accessions by country.
  • only available ) NPGS core subset accessions for the crop ‘VACCINIUM’ ) or .
  • Check PlantSearch database of Botanic Gardens Conservation International for possible non-NPGS germplasm.

Common names:

  • bilberry   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
  • blaeberry   (Source: Dict Gard ) – English
  • dwarf bilberry   (Source: F Pacif NW ) – English
  • European blueberry   (Source: web document) – English
  • whinberry   (Source: Dict Gard ) – English
  • whortleberry   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
  • myrtille   (Source: C. Feuillet, p.c.) – French
  • Heidelbeere   (Source: Zander ed14 ) – German
  • aojiku-sunoki   (Source: F Japan [as V. yatabei]) – Japanese Rōmaji
  • hime-usunoki   (Source: F Japan [as V. yatabei]) – Japanese Rōmaji
  • mirtilo   (Source: D. Groth, p.c. 2005) – Portuguese (Brazil)
  • uva-do-monte   (Source: D. Groth, p.c. 2005) – Portuguese (Brazil)
  • blåbär   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish

Economic importance:

  • Food additives: coloring   (for wine fide F USSR)
  • Bee plants: honey production   (fide F USSR)
  • Human food: beverage base   (fide Pl Book)
  • Human food: fruit   (fide Pl Book)
  • Animal food: forage   (for wildlife fide HortSci 31:1225. 1996)
  • Gene sources: primary genetic relative of bilberry   (based on selection of natural stands fide Temp Fruit Cr Breed 116, 128. 2008; as a diploid fide K. Hummer, pers. comm.)
  • Gene sources: secondary genetic relative of lingonberry   (based on natural hybrids with Vaccinium vitis-idaea fide J Agr Food Chem 57:9437. 2009)
  • Gene sources: tertiary genetic relative of bilberry   (based on its tetraploid or hexaploid constitution fide K. Hummer, pers.comm.)
  • Gene sources: tertiary genetic relative of highbush blueberry   (based on distant affinities to Vaccinium corymbosum fide Syst Bot 27:773, 775. 2002)
  • Materials: tannin/dyestuff   (fide F USSR)
  • Medicines: folklore   (contains anthocianidoses fide CRC MedHerbs ed2; Herbs Commerce ed2)

Distributional range:

      Native: (links to other web resources are provided for some distributions)
    Western Asia: Turkey [n.]
    Caucasus: Armenia; Georgia; Russian Federation - Ciscaucasia, Dagestan
    Siberia: Russian Federation - Eastern Siberia, Western Siberia
    Mongolia: Mongolia
    Eastern Asia: Japan - Honshu [n. & c.]
    Northern Europe: Denmark; Finland; Iceland; Ireland; Norway; Sweden; United Kingdom
    Middle Europe: Austria; Czech Republic; Germany; Hungary; Netherlands; Poland; Slovakia; Switzerland
    East Europe: Belarus; Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Russian Federation - European part; Ukraine
    Southeastern Europe: Albania; Bulgaria; Croatia; Italy; Macedonia; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia
    Southwestern Europe: France; Portugal; Spain
  • NORTHERN AMERICA (Check conservation status in U.S. & Canada in NatureServe Explorer database)
    Subarctic America: Greenland [s.w.]
    Western Canada: Canada - Alberta [s.w.], British Columbia [s.e.]
    Northwestern U.S.A.: United States - Colorado [w.], Idaho, Montana [w.], Oregon [n.], Washington [e.], Wyoming [w.]
    South-Central U.S.A.: United States - New Mexico
    Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Arizona [n.], Nevada, Utah [e.]


  • (on-line resource).
  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman & M. Hjertson. 2009. Våra kulturväxters namn - ursprung och användning. Formas, Stockholm (Handbook on Swedish cultivated and utility plants, their names and origin).
  • Bassil, N. V. et al. 2010. Microsatellite markers distinguish Hawaiian ohelo from other Vaccinium L. section Myrtillus species. Acta Hort. 859:81–88.
  • Davis, P. H., ed. 1965–1988. Flora of Turkey and the east Aegean islands.
  • Dorn, R. D. 1977. Manual of the vascular plants of Wyoming.
  • Duke, J. A. et al. 2002. CRC Handbook of medicinal herbs.
  • Encke, F. et al. 1993. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 14. Auflage.
  • Euro+Med Editorial Committee. Euro+Med Plantbase: the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity (on-line resource).
  • FNA Editorial Committee. 1993–. Flora of North America.
  • Facciola, S. 1990. Cornucopia, a source book of edible plants.
  • Feuillet, C. 1998. pers. comm. [re. French common names].
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource).
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. [re. Brazilian common names].
  • Hancock, J. F. et al. 2008. Blueberries and cranberries. In: Hancock, J. F., ed., Temperate fruit crop breeding: germplasm to genomics 4:115–149.
  • Hitchcock, C. L. et al. 1955–1969. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Hokkanen, J. et al. 2009. Identification of phenolic compunds from lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), bilberry (Vaccnium myrtillus L.) and hybrid bilberry (Vaccinium × intermedium Ruthe L.) leaves. J. Agric. Food Chem. 57:9437–9447.
  • Hummer, K. 2013. pers. comm.
  • Huxley, A., ed. 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening.
  • Iwatsuki, K. et al. 1993–. Flora of Japan. [treats as V. yatabei Makino].
  • Kartesz, J. T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  • Komarov, V. L. et al., eds. 1934–1964. Flora SSSR.
  • Krasnoborov, I. M., ed. 2000–. Flora of Siberia (English translation).
  • Krüssmann, G. 1984. Manual of cultivated broad-leaved trees and shrubs (English translation of Handbuch der Laubgehölze. 1976).
  • Kunkel, G. 1984. Plants for human consumption.
  • Laasimer, L. et al., eds. 1993–. Flora of the Baltic countries; compendium of vascular plants.
  • Leung, A. Y. & S. Foster. 1996. Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs, and cosmetics, ed. 2.
  • Mabberley, D. J. 1997. The plant-book: a portable dictionary of the vascular plants, ed. 2.
  • Markle, G. M. et al., eds. 1998. Food and feed crops of the United States, ed. 2.
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker. 2000. Herbs of commerce, ed. 2.
  • Morazzoni, P. & E. Bombardelli. 1996. Fitoterapia. 66:3–29.
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource).
  • Powell, E. A. & K. A. Kron. 2002. Hawaiian blueberries and their relatives - A phylogenetic analysis of Vaccinium sections Macropelma, Myrtillus, and Hemimyrtillus (Ericaceae). Syst. Bot. 27:768–779.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978–1979. The flora of Canada, 4 vol.
  • Shibli, R. A. & M. A. L. Smith. 1996. Direct shoot regeneration from Vaccinium pahalae (Ohelo) and V. myrtillus (bilberry) leaf explants. HortScience 31:1225–1228.
  • Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. 1964–1980. Flora europaea.
  • Vander Kloet, S. P. & T. A. Dickinson. 1999. The taxonomy of Vaccinium section Myrtillus. Brittonia 51:246–247.
  • Vander Kloet, S. P. 1988. The genus Vaccinium in North America.
  • Welsh, S. L. et al. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Mem. 9.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).


Check other web resources for Vaccinium myrtillus L.:


  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (05 October 2015)

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