Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
[ENG] Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Spread: Bilberry grows wild in the acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate, arctic and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Description: Often called European blueberries, a primarily Eurasian species of low-growing shrubs bearing edible, dark blue berries. The bilberry pulp is red or purple. Bilberry flowers in May-July with single, pink, bell-shaped flowers growing in the axils of the leaves. The berries can generally be harvested between July and September, subject to climate variations. The weather and amount of pollinators in around May time plays an important role in determining the autumn berry harvest.
General: The name 'Bilberry' is said to have a Scandinavian origin, possibly from as early as 1577. Bilberries are rich in vitamin C and E, as well as a great source of fibre and anthocyanin compounds with great health benefits. Bilberry has become significantly less abundant in recent decades, most likely due to industrial forestation, which has made forests dryer, the plant does not like sun-baked environment. Bilberry flowers are very sensitive to frost, one cold night can destroy the whole crop.
In the pictures:
A - Bilberry berry (picture: Niklas Christides)
B - Bilberry shrub (picture: Niklas Christides)
C - Bilberry shrub (picture: Niklas Christides)