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The bilberry

Vaccinium myrtillus

The genus Vaccinium belongs to the Heather Family and comprises many evergreen or deciduous shrubs widely distributed over the Northern hemisphere and across the mountains of South America. Apart from high-altitude Alpine woodland, species of Vaccinium are found on heaths and moors, where they often grow side by side with ericas and heather. The foliage takes on beautiful autumn colours, and all the species have berries of varying colours.
In the Alps, bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are found in open woodland.
The bilberry
 
The bilberry

Species characteristics

Bilberries are deciduous shrubs, 20-60cm tall, with green and angular twigs. The ovate and dentate leaves are shiny, pale green and 1-3cm long. The pink flowers are 4-6cm long, but bilberries are mainly known for their black, round, 8mm large fruit. They are sweet to the taste and used for jam-making.
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