Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[1]. Sweet and very tasty[2][3][4][5][6][7][8], they make an excellent preserve, their small seeds making them suitable for jam[9]. A slightly acid flavour when eaten raw[9]. The fruit can be dried and used like currants[10]. The fruit is up to 10mm in diameter[11]. A tea is made from the leaves[9][12][1].

Fruit

Unknown part

Tea

Material uses

A green dye is obtained from the leaves and the fruit and is used to colour fabrics[5]. A blue or black dye is obtained from the fruit[13][14]. This can be used as an ink[15].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The dried leaves of bilberries are used in the treatment of a variety of complaints[9]. These leaves should be harvested in early autumn, only green leaves being selected, and then dried in gentle heat[9]. The leaves should not be used medicinally for more than 3 weeks at a time[16].

A tea made from the dried leaves is strongly astringent, diuretic, tonic and an antiseptic for the urinary tract[9]. It is also a remedy for diabetes if taken for a prolonged period[9]. Another report says that the leaves can be helpful in pre-diabetic states but that they are not an alternative to conventional treatment[16]. The leaves contain glucoquinones, which reduce the levels of sugar in the blood[17]. A decoction of the leaves or bark is applied locally in the treatment of ulcers and in ulceration of the mouth and throat[9]. A distilled water made from the leaves is an excellent eyewash for soothing inflamed or sore eyes[5].

Whilst the fresh fruit has a slightly laxative effect upon the body, when dried it is astringent and is commonly used in the treatment of diarrhoea etc[9][5][16]. The dried fruit is also antibacterial and a decoction is useful for treating diarrhoea in children[16]. The skin of the fruits contains anthocyanin and is specific in the treatment of hemeralopia (day-blindness)[5]. The fruit is a rich source of anthocyanosides, which have been shown experimentally to dilate the blood vessels[17], this makes it a potentially valuable treatment for varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility[16].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Shrub

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed[18]. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification[19]. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[11]. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame[18]. Slow and difficult. Cuttings of mature wood in late autumn. Layering in late summer or early autumn[18]. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer[11]. Takes 18 months[18].

Division of suckers in spring or early autumn[19].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Vaccinium myrtillus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a moist but freely-draining lime free soil, preferring one that is rich in peat or a light loamy soil with added leaf-mould[20][11]. Prefers a very acid soil with a pH in the range of 4.5 to 6, plants soon become chlorotic when lime is present. Succeeds in full sun or light shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[21][11].

Dislikes root disturbance, plants are best grown in pots until being planted out in their permanent positions[11].Tolerates some shade, succeeding in light woodland. Very tolerant of wind and exposure[22]. Plants do not always do well in sheltered positions and they fruit better in an exposed position[23]. They can also form the ground layer in acid woods[22]. A freely suckering shrub when growing well[24]. Plants quickly regenerate from below ground level if they are burnt and also tolerate some grazing[22]. One report says the plant is self-sterile[3], another that it is self-fertile[21]. The fruits are relished by wildlife and the plants provide food for a number of insect species[22].

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[11].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Vaccinium myrtillus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Vaccinium myrtillus.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Vaccinium myrtillus
Genus
Vaccinium
Family
Ericaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
3
Heat Zone
2
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    0.2 x 0.3
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (32202/01/01)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (32202/01/01)
    3. ? 3.03.13.2 Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-5531-7 (32202/01/01)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (32202/01/01)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.65.7 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (32202/01/01)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Ceres. Free for All. Thorsons Publishers ISBN 0-7225-0445-4 (32202/01/01)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (32202/01/01)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (32202/01/01)
    9. ? 9.009.019.029.039.049.059.069.079.089.099.10 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (32202/01/01)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.711.8 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (32202/01/01)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (32202/01/01)
    13. ? 13.013.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (32202/01/01)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading ISBN 0704909820 (32202/01/01)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Freethy. R. From Agar to Zenery. The Crowood Press ISBN 0-946284-51-2 (32202/01/01)
    16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.416.5 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (32202/01/01)
    17. ? 17.017.117.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (32202/01/01)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.3 Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (32202/01/01)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (32202/01/01)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (32202/01/01)
    21. ? 21.021.121.2 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (32202/01/01)
    22. ? 22.022.122.222.3 Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs. Jarrold (32202/01/01)
    23. ? Johnson. C. P. The Useful Plants of Great Britain. ()
    24. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (32202/01/01)



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