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Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest

Huckleberry

  • Vaccinium spp.
  • Blueberry, Deerberry, Farkleberry

Woody

Summer coverEscape coverFood

Vacciniums are stiff-branched shrubs Vacciniums are stiff-branched shrubs from 6 inches to 10 feet tall.

©James H. Miller, USDA-NRCS Plants Database
 

Flowers of huckleberry

Flowers of huckleberry and related species are white to pinkish, bell-shaped, and five-lobed. Flowering typically occurs from April to June.

North Dakota State Soil Conservation Committee, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Fruits ripen and contain as many as five seeds

More than a dozen species of birds, including bluebirds, ruffed grouse, scarlet tanagers, wild turkeys and bobwhites use Vacciniums for food. Gray fox, cottontail rabbits and white-tailed deer also eat the fruit or leaves and stems. Fruits change from red to blue or purple as they ripen and contain as many as five seeds. They ripen from late June through August.

©Ted Bodner, USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Description

Vacciniums are stiffly branched leafy shrubs or small trees, often found in extensive colonies, from 6 inches to 10 feet tall. Although uncommon in some regions, they occur throughout the Midwest, often on acid soils overlying sandstone, chert or igneous bedrock of dry open woods, glades, ridges and upland slopes. The alternate, simple leaves are 3/4 to 3 inches long and 1/2 to 1 inch wide. The fruits are blue to black berries with a faint whitish coating and are sweet and palatable. The fruits contain as many as five seeds and mature from late June through August.

Bloom period

April to June

Use by bobwhites

Huckleberry fruits are a staple in the diets of many wildlife species and are consumed frequently by bobwhites and other songbirds. The seeds will persist well into winter, when other preferred food sources become scarce. Dense colonies may provide summer thermal and escape cover.
 

 

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MP903 Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest | Page 25 | University of Missouri Extension