This rainy year produced some spectacular flower displays. One that we see in the forest is called Deerberry, Vaccinium stamineum. It’s a member of the Heath Family, Ericaceae, as are the blueberries and huckleberries, and it’s also native to the eastern United States.
The foliage looks a lot like that of the lowbush blueberry, but the flowers are distinct. Each bell-shaped flower is white to pinkish-white with many stamens that protrude beyond the edge of the short bell. The five lobes at the edge of the bell do not flare outward as the blossoms of the blueberries do.
The flowers are arranged in loose clusters where each blossom dangles just below a small leaf on the main stem. This ‘leafy-bracted raceme’ is a character worth noting to identify deerberry.
(Click on any of the photos to see larger images.)