Highbush blueberry. Used with permission from Daniel Ahlqvist.

Get to Know the Highbush Blueberry

Carton of highbush blueberries.  Photo from Wikimedia Commons.When you go to the supermarket and buy yourself some blueberries, there is a good chance that you are picking yourself up some delicious highbush blueberries or a hybrid version of them (especially in the northern regions of the United States).  Vaccinium corymbosum, the highbush blueberry, and Vaccinium australe (found primarily in the southern regions of the United States) are the two dominant species of blueberries that are sold commercially in the United States.  Most 'highbush' blueberries are actually hybrids of those two species, plus other minor species.  The highbush blueberry has many alternative names, including: Northern highbush blueberry, Southeastern highbush blueberry, Maryland highbush blueberry, black highbush blueberry, American blueberry, New Jersey blueberry, rabbiteye blueberry, swamp blueberry, tall huckleberry, mayberry, and whortleberry.  The common name 'highbush blueberry' simply refers to the blue fruit that is located relatively high on the 'bush.'

The name Vaccinium corymbosum is derived from Latin.  Vaccinium is the ancient Latin word for bilberry, and corymbosum means 'full of corymbs.'  A corymb is a cluster of flowers coming off of the stem that grow to the same height, creating a 'flat top.'

 Example of a corymb arrangement in flowers. Asa Gray, The Elements of Botany for Beginners and for Schools (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Co., 1887) 74
Example of a corymb.

Corymb arrangment of highbush blueberry flowers.  Photo by Leo Michels.
Notice the way the flowers line up in a corymb.

Now that you know a little bit about the Vaccinium corymbosum, learn about how it is classified on my Classification page.

Find out about other interesting food organisms on the Multiple Organisms site.