Shiny Blueberry

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White and red combine to create bulging flowers ripe for creating.

The Shiny Blueberry, Vaccinium myrsinites, thrives in the acid soils of pine flatwoods as well as nutrient poor sand hills.  Semi-woody, zig-zagging, brownish branches grow to a height of about three feet. Glossy green leaves are elliptic to lanceolate  in shape, three inches long and two inches wide. Leaf margins are slightly toothed. Beneath the leaf are tiny glands. Leaves are deciduous which means come winter all its leaves will drop off.

White to pinkish flowers appear in clusters along the branches. Urn-shaped flowers hang downwards from a bright red flower stalk. Five fused petals warp around ten male stamens and a single female style. An opening between the tips of the petals at the bottom of the bloom provides an entrance for pollinators.

The fruit of this species is a shinny blue berry that can be almost ½ inch in diameter. Berries are edible.  The specimen in the picture was taken in the sand hills of the Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid.

Dorothy Rodwell