Nature Notes

Mount Rainier National Park

Vol. XIV June - 1936 No. 2

Issued quarterly by the Naturalist Department of Mount Rainier National Park. Material contained herein may be used freely provided that credit is given to this pamphlet and the author.
C. Frank Brockman
Park Naturalist
O. A. Tomlinson


V. macrophyllum is a high bush, large-leaved huckleberry. To the casual visitor this species is confused with fool's huckleberry whose leaf resembles it closely but whose berries grow in clumps from the stem. The true huckleberry is single, and much larger. The indians prized this berry highly for its taste.

sketch of Vaccinium macrophylum

V. ovatum or the evergreen huckleberry of the low altitudes is a beautiful low bush whose leaves are a rich green when mature and a beautiful orange red when first emerging. Florists use, this plant together with flowers in a wreath or spray and it is considered superior to others for a green background because the leaves retain their freshness for so long a time. Commercial picking of this shrub is carried on in the Grays Harbor region.

sketch of Vaccinium ovatum

V. ovalifolium is most colorful when blooming. The flowers come before the leaves emerge and it gives the entire plant a lacy pink appearance.

sketch of Vaccinium ovalifolium

V. scoparium like parvifolium has red berries but they are small, not too numerous on the stem and the bush is only hand high. In the park from 2000 feet to 4000 feet it is found abundantly.

sketch of Vaccinium scorpium

V. occidentale is hard to locate on the South west side of the mountain. The better habitat is the east slope of the cascades and south to California. It can be distinguished from its closest relative, V. ovalifolium by the smooth-edged leaves and the uniform manner in which they arise from the branch, also the berries arise sometimes in twos from the branch.

sketch of Vaccinium occidentale

V. deliciosum is the huckleberry so abundant in Indian Henry's Hunting ground. The sugar content of this berry is high which makes it good for canning. This is the one the indians and bears gather in quantity because the berry is large and low to the ground. The leaf is edible and the bear strips the leaves, berries and all from the stem, with his paws and crams them all into his mouth.

sketch of Vaccinium delicosium

V. parvifolium is the tall bush huckleberry with the angled branchlets. Its berries are large, red and acid. They occur abundantly enough on the stems to make it worth while for picking. Since it is the most common one of lower altitudes it is no wonder that people who do not get far from home always remark, "Huckleberries are always red."

sketch of Vaccinium parvifolium
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