Vaccinium ovatum Pursh
Vaccinium ovatum Pursh var. saporosum Jeps.
Evergreen Huckleberry, California Huckleberry
Evergreen huckleberry is native to the west coast of North America.
Identification: These plants are bushy shrubs up to 24-36" (60-91 cm) in full sun, and up to 15' (4.6 m) in the shade. Leaves are dark green and shiny, alternate, 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) long. They are ovate (oval, wider at the base) in shape, with pointed tips, tough and leathery, with small serrations along the edges. Flowers are about ½" (1.3 cm) long, pinkish white, bell-shaped, in clusters of 3 to 10. Berries are purplish black, ⅛-¼" (4-7 mm) in diameter.
This Vaccinium comparison chart also includes a couple of similar-appearing species that are not Vaccinium.
Edibility: As with other members of Vaccinium (such as blueberries), berries are edible, though these taste better after the first frost. They were highly prized by native American tribes along the Pacific coast, dried and formed into cakes. Today they are used anywhere blueberries might be—in bread, muffins, jams, etc.
Vaccinium ovatum at Washington State University’s Gardening in Western Washington
Vaccinium ovatum at Evergreen State College
Vaccinium ovatum on Wikipedia
Vaccinium ovatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 4 Nov 2013.
Range: Zones 7-9: