Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Gaylussacia baccata (Wang.) K. Koch
ERICACEAE (Heath Family)
EtymologyGaylussacia is named for the French chemist, Joseph Gay-Lussac (1778-1850), known for his Law for Combining Volumes (of gases); baccata means berry-like and pulpy, from the Latin "baccat," meaning adorned with berries or pearls.
Synonyms (Common Name)Highbush Huckleberry
DescriptionBlack huckleberry is a medium, deciduous, ericaceous shrub that grows 1-3 1/2' tall. It is an abundant shrub in the lower understory of poor woods, shrub thickets, and clearings that sometimes grows along the edges of ponds, bogs, and acidic fens. Black huckleberry is erect and bushy with many stiff, gray-brown branches. New-growth twigs are uniformly red.
Wetland indicator statusFACU
Plant Height1-3.5 feet
LeavesDeciduous, alternate, simple, entire, 4/5 - 2" long; elliptical to oblong or oblanceolate; both sides are densely covered with resin dots that are sticky on young growth; rosy red in fall.
Flower/InflorescenceGreenish-white tinged with red or pink, small (less than 1/4"), bell-shaped; in short, one-sided clusters; stems usually shorter than flowers; buds sticky with resin dots.
Flowering PeriodMay-July
FruitBerrylike drupe, small (1/4"), with ten nutlet-like seeds, shiny black; edible, sweet tasting.
Fruiting PeriodAugust-October.
HabitatDry or wet open woods, thickets and clearings, rocky soils, edges of bogs and ponds.
RangeNewfoundland to Quebec to Manitoba, south to Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett