Monday, July 8, 2013

Wild Blueberry

Have you noticed the super abundance of all kinds of fruit this summer, both wild and cultivated? Recall last spring that it just never got warm outside, and it seemed like every weekend was cold and wet. Somewhere at a greenhouse my wife talked with a guy from Arkansas or Alabama and he called it a "raspberry winter." He said that a spring like that would result in more fruit that we knew what to do with and it's starting to look like he was right. We could attribute this to the abundant rain this summer, and while that certainly helps with the size of the fruit, something good had to happen last spring when these plants were flowering.
This Vaccinium was fruiting with more abundance and larger fruit than I had ever seen, at a sandy black oak savanna in Lake County, Indiana. It was a low shrub about knee high, and it is either Vaccinium angustifolium or V. pallidum. Can anyone offer opinions on the I.D? Thanks! I apologize but I didn't notice whether the underside of the leaf was pale or not.   Eat well, breathe easy, and thank a plant for both!

5 comments:

Brent C. Kryda said...

Augustifolium, through and through. I recognize those berries anywhere, having been practically born into a patch. You can usually tell the difference by a much sharper termination on the leaf tip of the Blue Ridge berries. Low-bush leaves, on the other hand, are a bit broader and small in length.

Scott Namestnik said...

I agree with Brent. The leaves of V. pallidum usually have entire, revolute margins and are overall more glaucous and obovate. I don't believe that they are that rugose, either.

Brent C. Kryda said...

They can be rugose, especially in more northerly populations, which is a possible mechanism for dealing with dessication in extremely low temperatures (akin to what a R. Maximum does in winter). The Augustifolium I am used to are from northern Ontario and have lived through a few horrid nights of -60F in both of our lifetimes, an extreme but not one entirely out of the question in a region which easily sees a few weeks of lows in the upper -30F range. I notice that the rugose quality disappears in the southern lakes, from roughly the Bruce and Door Peninsulas southward. Don't you just love boreal plant life?!

Scott Namestnik said...

Brent, are you saying that V. pallidum can be rugose, or that V. angustifolium can be rugose? I was saying (probably not clearly) that V. angustifolium leaves are more rugose than those of V. pallidum. Do you agree with that, based on what you've seen? Keith's photos were taken in northern Indiana, but I still think they appear fairly rugose (even though this is south of the geographical line that you mention). What is your experience with V. angustifolium var. nigrum (aka V. pensylvanicum) vs. V. angustifolium var. angustifolium? Think they're distinct?

Brent C. Kryda said...

I was saying that V. Augustifolium can be rugose, but mainly in the populations where they meet rougher winter conditions. I think the nomenclature of Augustifolium on the whole is in need of scrutiny, namely because more and more variations keep popping up. I do think there are some distinctions between certain populations though. I would have to see the Indiana populations for myself, in person, in habitat, to make a decision as to how yours are classified, but I find that that little part of Indiana defies description; neither boreal nor (as we Ontarians like to say) carolinian. Maybe they are worthy of being called v. Indianensis!