DANGLEBERRY
(Gaylussacia frondosa)
 

 

Dangleberry bushes growing wild in forest

 

 

Family: Ericaceae

Synonyms: Decachaena frondosa

Other names: Blue huckleberry.

Dangleberry is plant of the Eastern United States.  The plant is virtually a look alike of blueberry.

Description:

A freely branched slender deciduous shrub, upto 2 m tall, with wide spreading branches.

            Leaves 2.5-7 cm long with distinctly bluish glaucous formed by a bloom of whitish powder that can be rubbed of with a finger, having resinous glands on ventral side,

            Flowers small, urn shaped, pinkish green, 2-4 mm long.
 

A fruit bearing shoot

 

            Fruit fleshy drupe, glaucous, blue, 8 mm in diameter.
 

Ripe dangleberry fruits

            Seeds 8-10.

             Two varieties are recognized: Gaylussacia frondosa var. tomentosa has densely tomentose twigs, branchlets and leaf undersides. They are clothed with soft, matted, wooly hairs. Gaylussacia frondosa var. frondosa has glabrous twigs and leaf undersides, lacking the wooly hairs.

Utilization:

Dangleberries bear tasty fruits which are sweet as well as juicy.  These are good to eat.  The fruits can also be made into a jam

            This plant makes a great border shrub, staying under 1 m in height. Ideally, huckleberries should be planted along paths in the woodland garden where they provide flowers, fruit and structure in light shade.

Cultivation:

Like most members of the heath family (for example, rhododendrons and blueberries), dangleberries thrive in acidic soils. This plant likes a loose, organic, rich, well drained soil but not with a lot of fertilizer. It seems to thrive in poor soils.  In nature this plant grows under shade.  So, in home gardens, position huckleberry at a location where they get some afternoon shade.

            New plants should be raised from stem cuttings.  The best results re obtained if these are planted in the mist.  Though seeds also germinate but require a lot of cold stratification and therefore difficult as well as slow.

 

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