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Orange Bells in the Forest

The other day, I talked about walking through a pine barrens woodland where I saw blueberries in the understory of the oak forest. (See: “White Bells in the Pine Barrens”.) In addition to the white bells, I saw the reddish bells of another shrub with similar attributes growing amongst the blueberries – the black huckleberry.

Black huckleberry looks similar to the low bush blueberries, but it grows taller reaching up to three feet tall. This huckleberry species has orange-red blossoms that, if pollinated, will produce black fruit.

Unlike blueberries, huckleberries have resinous leaves. If you look at the underside of the huckleberry leaf you will see tiny yellow resin dots. This resin reduces the loss of water via transpiration which is important to a plant that grows in dry, sandy, acidic soils.

Huckleberries can be found in the eastern U.S. in places with dry acidic soils. Yes, huckleberries are edible, but be sure it is a huckleberry and not some random poisonous berry that will make you sick.

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