Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

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S.G. Aiken, M.J. Dallwitz, L.L. Consaul, C.L. McJannet, R.L. Boles, G.W. Argus, J.M. Gillett, P.J. Scott, R. Elven, M.C. LeBlanc, L.J. Gillespie, A.K. Brysting, H. Solstad, and J.G. Harris

Vaccinium L.

Ericaceae, Bilberry family.

Published in Sp. Pl. 349.1753.

Synonymy. Rhodococcum (Rupr.) Avrorin, Bot. Zhurn. (Moscow and Leningrad) 43: 1723. 1958.

Vegetative morphology. Plants 2–20 cm high; shrubs; dwarf shrubs. Aerial stems erect, or prostrate. Aerial stem trichomes appressed, or spreading. Leaves not heterophyllous; distributed along the stems; alternate; not distinctly distichous; persistent (1), or dying annually and non-persistent (1), or marcescent (1). Stipules absent (prominent leaf bud scales may be present). Petioles present; 0.2–1.5 mm long; glabrous, or hairy. Petiole hairs reflexed; curved (if applicable). Leaf blades simple. Leaf blade bases cuneate, or attenuate. Blades 2.5–12 mm long, 1.5–8 mm wide, spreading, oblong or elliptic or obovate, flat, veins reticulate or appearing single-veined. Blade adaxial surface dull or shiny, without sessile glands, glabrous. Blade abaxial surface with sessile glands (1) or without sessile glands or glandular hairs (1), glabrous. Blade margins slightly revolute, blades not lobed. Blade margins entire, glabrous; apices acute, or obtuse, or rounded, or retuse.

Reproductive morphology. Flowers solitary, or in inflorescences. Inflorescences fasciculate; lateral (1/1). Pedicels present. Bract leaves 2–5.5 mm long. Floral bracts light rose, or brown; 0.5–2.5 mm long; 0.5–1 mm wide; glabrous; apices entire, or lacerate. Flowers per inflorescence 1–4; small. Sepals conventional; 5; fused; 0.8–1.5 mm wide; red. Calyx funnel-form; 5-lobed; without sessile glands; glabrous. Petals conventional; fused; 5; white, or pink; 4–6 mm long. Corolla campanulate; 5-lobed. Stamens 8, or 10. Anthers reddish, becoming yellow, or yellow. Anthers opening with a terminal pore. Anthers 1.4–2.2 mm long. Nectaries present. Ovary inferior; carpels 4–5; syncarpous. Ovaries sub-globose; glabrous. Styles 1. Fruit sessile; with calyx persisting; fleshy; a berry; spherical; red, or blue; 5–10 mm long; 5–10 mm wide; glabrous; surface appearing veinless; indehiscent. Seeds 1–1.6 mm long; black, or yellowish.

Chromosome information. 2n = 24 (1), or 48.

Ecology and habitat. Substrates: hummocks (1/1), tundra (1/1), slopes (1/1), ridges (1/1); imperfectly drained moist areas (1/1), dry (1/1), moderately well-drained areas (1/1).

General notes. The genus name Vaccinium (Ericaceae) is a classical Latin word that was applied to blueberries. It is presumed to be derived from the Latin vaccinus, meaning of cows, since cows seem to love the berries, a fact that was first recorded by English navigator and explorer Captain James Cook. The genus name has also been interpreted as originating from bacca, berry, in allusion to the numerous berries (Small and Catling 2003).


This publication is available on the internet (posted May 2011) and on CD-ROM (published in 2007). These versions are identical in content, except that the errata page for CD-ROM is accessible on the main index page of the web version.

Recommended citation for the web-based version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa. http://nature.ca/aaflora/data, accessed on DATE.

Recommended citation for the CD-ROM version of this publication: Aiken, S.G., Dallwitz, M.J., Consaul, L.L., McJannet, C.L., Boles, R.L., Argus, G.W., Gillett, J.M., Scott, P.J., Elven, R., LeBlanc, M.C., Gillespie, L.J., Brysting, A.K., Solstad, H., and Harris, J.G. 2007. Flora of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval. [CD-ROM] NRC Research Press, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa.

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