Velvetleaf blueberry is a low spreading shrub native to North America. Noted for its tasty fruit both to humans and animals, It can be found in woodlands, bogs, slopes, disturbed areas, and rock outcrops; thrives in dry, sandy or rocky areas, but also found in bogs and moist areas. The shrub is usually no higher than 3 feet but spreads horizontally by forming colonies via underground rhizomes.
The twigs are green to brown, very velvety especially when young. Leaves bright green above, paler underneath and elliptic to lanceolate in shape. From May to June, white, pink, pale green or hinted purple solitary drooping flowers appear. Their shape resembles an upside down urn. Clusters of fruit follow flowering and are usually blue to sometimes purple-black with a pale frost . Pollination occurs mainly by bees and seeds dispersed by birds.
Velvetleaf blueberry is an important food source for wildlife, especially bears. Whitetail deer and eastern cottontail browse the twigs and leaves. Deer, fox, porcupine, raccoons, wild turkey, and various other bird species feed on the fruit. The fruit is sweet and can be eaten fresh or used in pastries, pies, jams, and other desserts. Though less poplar than other blueberries, Velvetleaf blueberry is sometimes cultivated as a food crop and is grown commercially in New Brunswick and Maine.
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