Whortleberry (Vaccinium) - A group of evergreen and summer-leafing shrubs allied to the Heath family, often beautiful in bloom, in fruit, and in autumn color, yet neglected in gardens. The smaller kinds may be planted as edgings to beds of Rhododendrons and other peat-loving shrubs or as groups in the rock garden. They will not grow in lime soils, and are averse to removal, but are otherwise of easy culture, and increased by suckers, cuttings, or seed. Unless from a good nursery where they have been frequently transplanted, they must be well cut in after removal. Most kinds are best in partial shade and in moist or boggy soil, though some do well in drier and sunny places. Many kinds bear good fruit of agreeable acid flavor, known under various popular names and valued for tarts and preserves. Though now often classed apart under the name Oxycoccus, the true Cranberries are included here. The following are the best of the hardy kinds:-
Box-leaved Whortle-berry (Vaccinium Buxifolia) - A pretty evergreen shrub from the hills of Virginia, 6 to 8 inches high, and useful for edgings in a shady place.
Velvet-leaf (Vaccinium Canadense) - A low shrub of 1 to 2 feet, with white flowers tinged with green and red, coming just before the leaves, which are soft and downy. The abundant blue berries are covered with bloom and very sour, ripening late. The plants grow in well-drained but moist peaty soil, and give fine autumn color.
American Blueberry (Vaccinium Corymbosum) - A spreading shrub of 8 to 10 feet, charming with its small pink flowers in spring and vivid leaf-tints in autumn. The fruits are good and improve with cultivation, the less common white and pink varieties giving pretty color effects. There are several forms-amoenum, with bright green downy leaves; and pallidum, in which they are pale and glaucous.
Hairy Huckleberry (Vaccinium Hirsutum) - A beautiful little shrub about a foot high, with long racemes of large greenish-white flowers, and dark blue hairy fruits of refined flavor. In autumn the leaves turn a showy brick-red color, which endures for several weeks. The plant needs sun and a moist peaty soil.
American Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarpum) - A dwarf evergreen trailing shrub with its long loose stems covered with oval grey-green leaves, giving reddish-purple, bronze, and crimson tints in autumn. The rosy flowers appear in June, and the ripe fruit in September or October. There are many varieties, valued for their fruit. Thrives best in wet peat bogs.
Vaccinium Myrsenites - A cheerful evergreen shrub of 1 to 2 feet, with neat glossy-green leaves clusters of bell-shaped white flowers touched with pink, and red berries, ripening to blue or black. Firm sandy peat, well-drained.
Bilberry (Vaccinium Myrtillus) - Native shrub growing on our moors and in shady woods. Its rigid stems, often only a few inches high, rise from a creeping root-stock, bearing neat leaves (red while young), small rosy flowers, and juicy blue berries of excellent flavor.
Vaccinium Ovatum - An evergreen shrub of 3 to 8 feet, from the Pacific coast of North America, with thick glossy leaves, bright pink flowers, and handsome red fruits, ripening black and of good flavor. This makes a choice hedge plant, and is one of the most useful kinds of the genus.
Cranberry (Vaccinium Oxycoccus) - Trailing evergreen shrub found in our peat bogs from Sussex to Shetland. It has downy stems, scattered leaves, tiny red flowers, and dark red acid fruits.
Pennsylvania Blueberry (Vaccinium Pennsylvanicum) - A low shrub with oblong shining leaves, white or rosy flowers, and sweet bluish-black fruits, ripening early and much esteemed. The plant grows well in drier places than most Whortleberries, and the foliage is very effective in late autumn.
Deerberry (Vaccinium Stamineum) - A dense shrub of 2 feet, growing in dry woods of New England, with grey-green leaves, showy greenish-white or purple flowers, and pale green, round, or pear-shaped fruits of no value. It is a graceful garden shrub, thriving in shady places and easily grown. The flowers are peculiar in having no bud stage, coming wide open from the first.
Great Bilberry (Vaccinium Uliginosum) - A native trailing shrub, found in mountain bogs and woody places of Scotland and the north of England. The flowers are small, pale pink, and the berries dark blue. A useful rock plant for cold wet soils.
Pale Blueberry (Vaccinium Vacillans) - An erect-growing little shrub well adapted for dry and sandy places, with showy bell-shaped flowers contracted at the mouth, and borne in loose clusters; large blue berries, with a dense bloom and good flavor, ripening after the first earlies. A pretty plant, and worth growing for its fruit alone.
Cowberry (Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea) - A native evergreen shrub with trailing stems, growing in the west from Devon and S. Wales, into Scotland, but absent from the S.E. of Britain. The box-like leaves are dark and shining, and the pretty pink flowers give place to crimson berries the size of red currants and equally useful, but only abundant on well-grown plants.
Bears Grape (Vaccinium Arctostaphylos) - A fine summer-leafing shrub of 6 to 8 feet, from the wooded mountains bordering the Black Sea. It bears blush-white flowers tinged with purple and reddish-purple berries, and likes a damp shady place.