How to Identify Wild Blueberry Bushes

Overview

While cultivated blueberries grow on shrubs, wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) grow on small, low bushes that creep along the ground. They spread rapidly through underground rhizomes. Learning to identify this shrub will keep you rolling in berries during the summer months. Wild, or lowland, blueberries are native to North America. They grow extensively in Maine and Canada, and can be found along the Eastern Seaboard and as far inland as Michigan.

Step 1

Rule out plants over 1 foot in height. As Michigan State University notes, wild lowbush blueberries reach only 1 foot. If your plant is taller, it may be a blueberry bush, but not the wild blueberry.

Step 2

Look at the plant's leaves. Wild blueberry bushes have textured ovoid leaves. They vary in color, ranging from pale green to rust. Bushes may have all green leaves, variegated leaves or a combination.

Step 3

Check for flowers if it's spring, since the plant won't have fruit yet. Wild blueberry plants have small, bell-shaped white flowers.

Step 4

Note any fruit if the plant is not flowering. Unripe blueberries are shiny and green. As they ripen, they turn pink, then blue. Lowbush berries have the classic blueberry shape with the small star at the end of the berry, opposite the stem end. Berries that are blue but lack this star aren't blueberries.

References

  • Wild Blueberries: About Wild Blueberries
  • Michigan State University: Michigan Lowbush Blueberries
Keywords: wild blueberries, lowbush blueberries, blueberry plant identification

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.