Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Huckleberries Vs. Blueberries

...
Huckleberry image by asmik from Fotolia.com

If you are confused over the difference between a huckleberry and a blueberry, you are not alone. While the term blueberry is almost always correctly used, the term huckleberry is often incorrectly applied to blueberries. If you want to know if your huckleberry is a true huckleberry, it is important to look at a variety of things.

Origins

The confusion between huckleberries and blueberries began in the late 1600s when American colonists first identified native blueberry species as "hurtleberries," which is actually a variety of European blueberry. Slowly the word hurtleberry transformed into huckleberry.

Species

Huckleberry is a term that refers to plants in two genera: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium. Blueberry refers only to plants in the Vaccinium genus. There are about 40 species of huckleberry while there are only about 20 species of blueberry.

  • If you are confused over the difference between a huckleberry and a blueberry, you are not alone.
  • Huckleberry is a term that refers to plants in two genera: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium.

Location

Although blueberries are assumed to be more common to the eastern United States and huckleberries to the Pacific Northwest, Marie Harrison, a University of Florida Master Gardener, contradicts this concept in an article claiming that huckleberries can also be found in the East. However, one sure place you will always find blueberries is your grocery store, because huckleberries are not grown commercially.

Appearance

It can be almost impossible to determine if a bush is a blueberry or a huckleberry by its appearance. Both can vary in height from 1 to 12 feet tall. Leaves vary in appearance depending on the exact species, although Gaylussacia huckleberries tend to have leaves with a sticky resin along the underside.

Color

Given the name blueberry, one might assume that the fruit would always be blue. But blueberries can also appear black, dark purple and even red—exactly the same as huckleberries.

  • Although blueberries are assumed to be more common to the eastern United States and huckleberries to the Pacific Northwest, Marie Harrison, a University of Florida Master Gardener, contradicts this concept in an article claiming that huckleberries can also be found in the East.
  • Given the name blueberry, one might assume that the fruit would always be blue.

Taste

By most reports the taste of the two berries is very similar. However, Linda Stradley, a cookbook author and culinary historian, says that the flavor of huckleberries tends to be more tart and intense than that of blueberries.

Seeds

The seeds are a surefire way of distinguishing a blueberry from a huckleberry. Huckleberries have 10 large, hard seeds. In contrast, blueberries have lots of soft tiny seeds.

Related Articles

How to Tell Blueberries Are Ripe
How to Tell Blueberries Are Ripe
How Should Huckleberries Taste?
How Should Huckleberries Taste?
The Difference Between a Bilberry & a Blueberry
The Difference Between a Bilberry & a Blueberry
Difference Between Blueberries & Huckleberries
Difference Between Blueberries & Huckleberries
Blueberry Leaf Identification
Blueberry Leaf Identification
Plants That Resemble Blueberries
Plants That Resemble Blueberries
How to Identify Shrubs With Berries
How to Identify Shrubs With Berries
Wisconsin Wild Blueberry Plants
Wisconsin Wild Blueberry Plants
Berry Leaf Identification
Berry Leaf Identification
Are Cedar & Juniper Berries the Same?
Are Cedar & Juniper Berries the Same?
Are Coffee Grounds Good for Blueberry Plants?
Are Coffee Grounds Good for Blueberry Plants?
Where Do Wild Huckleberries Grow?
Where Do Wild Huckleberries Grow?
How to Identify Juniper Berries
How to Identify Juniper Berries
Huckleberry Plant Identification
Huckleberry Plant Identification
Blackberry vs. Dewberry Fruit
Blackberry vs. Dewberry Fruit
How to Harvest Blueberry Seeds
How to Harvest Blueberry Seeds
Michigan Wild Berry Plant Identification
Michigan Wild Berry Plant Identification
Garden Guides
×