Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.
Synonyms: V. pensylvanicum var. angustifolium (Ait.) A. Gr.
V. angustifolium in its typical state is not so well known in gardens as the following variety, better known as “V. pennsylvanicum”. The two are the same in their leading botanical characters, but the typical state is dwarfer and intricately branched, with smaller, relatively narrower leaves. Also, it is diploid, whereas the var. laevifolium is tetraploid, and is maintained as a separate species by some authorities under the name V. lamarckii.
var. laevifolium House V. pensilvanicum Lam., not Mill.; V. lamarckii Camp – A low, deciduous shrub, usually under 2 ft high; young shoots warted and more or less downy. Leaves nearly stalkless, lance-shaped to narrowly oval or oblong, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. wide, minutely toothed, glandular at the edge when young, pointed, glabrous and bright green, the midrib downy on one or both sides. Flowers produced in April and May in short dense clusters. Corolla white tinged with red, cylindric to bell-shaped, 1⁄4 in. or rather more long. Berries round, 1⁄4 to 5⁄8 in. wide, normally black, covered with a blue bloom, but white in f. leucocarpum (Deane) Rehd.; very sweet.
Native of the eastern United States and Canada; introduced in 1772. The berry has a pleasant flavour, and is one of the most valuable wild fruits of N. America, ripening earlier than those of any other species. It covers large areas of poor sandy soil and the stands are periodically burned in some areas to improve the yield. In this country it has little or no value as a fruit-bearer, but makes a pleasing low cover on peaty or light sandy soils. It attains a height of about 3 ft in gardens.
var. nigrum (Wood.) Dole V. pennsylvanicum var. nigrum Wood; V. brittonii Porter – Young stems and undersides of leaves glaucous. Berries black.
V. pallidum Ait. – Similar to V. angustifolium var. laevifolium in habit and leaf-colour, but the leaves up to 2 in. long and 1 in. wide and the corollas cylindric or nearly so.