I just can’t believe the bounty of this little plot of land I live on. I discovered recently that there are bush after bush of wild blueberries, which happens to be my absolute favorite fruit. I missed them the last two years because I wasn’t paying careful attention in the Spring when they were flowering and so had no way of really knowing what those random berries were that I saw later in the Summer.
Flowers are the easiest way to identify any unknown plant. They follow patterns that are easily categorized by family, and this helps tremendously with narrowing it down the correct plant. Most online identification tools are also going to be easiest to use when you know the flower.
Below is what my blueberry flowers look like. I was able to find and identify this plant online by searching under “white flowers” at www.missouriplants.com. The latin name is Vaccinium stamineum, so I had to scroll through many pages before I got to the “v” section and recognized this flower. Once I had the latin name, I searched Google for more photos to be sure it was a correct i.d.
Blueberry Flowers photo here
This variety of blueberry is known by the common name of Deerberry, and are edible. From what I’ve read, the fruits do not become dark blue and sweet when they ripen, but remain a bit green and sour.
The other day in a particularly sunny location I saw a nearly ripened fruit on one of the bushes, and it was somewhat purple, but not blue. I ate one and found that it was quite tart, but I thought they were actually pretty tasty.
Deerberry photo here
I’m going to harvest as many as I can this year and freeze them to add to smoothies and such, as they are very nutritious. According to a recent USDA report, they contain loads of anti-oxidants (as most berries do), which are a group of nutrients that support cardio vascular health and scavenge free-radicals in the body to prevent things like premature aging and cancer.
Wow, what an awesome gift from Mother Earth, just sitting out there waiting for us to partake. I never cease to be amazed.