Huckleberry

Botanical Name : Gaylussacia baccata
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaylussacia
Species: G. baccata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms:
Gaylussacia baccata (Wangenh.) K. Koch
DEBA7 Decachaena baccata (Wangenh.) Small

Common Name:Huckleberry

Habitat :Gaylussacia baccata is  found throughout a wide area of northeastern North America

Description:
Black huckleberry is a low-growing, freely branched, deciduous shrub. It is rigid and erect, generally growing to 3 feet (1 m) tall. Shrubs are often found in clumps due to dense clonal spread . Site conditions can affect the growth form. Black huckleberry shrubs grown in the shade are typically taller and more open, while those in open conditions are often shorter and more compact.

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New branches are minutely hairy, and older wood often has peeling bark . Leaves are simple, alternate, and measure 0.9 to 2.2 inches (2-5.5 cm) long by 0.4 to 1 inch (1-2.5 cm) wide. The firm, shiny, hairless leaves have resinous dots .

Flowers are small, cylindrical to bell shaped, and arranged in one-sided racemes . Black huckleberry produces berry like drupe fruits that are generally 0.25 inch (0.63 cm) in diameter. Ten seeds approximately 2 mm long are produced per drupe . In a review, an average of 22,100 clean seeds weighed an ounce and 780 weighed a gram . One hundred “plump” seeds collected from Maryland weighed 136 mg .

Belowground description: Black huckleberry is shallowly rooted below slender scaly rhizomes. It lacks a taproot.  In the New Jersey pine barrens, complete underground structures of 5 black huckleberry shrubs were exposed by careful hand digging. The researcher found that rhizomes were predominantly in the A0 and A1 soil horizons. In soils without these layers, rhizomes are normally concentrated in the top 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm) of mineral soil. Long rhizomes, while typically confined to the upper soil horizons, may reach as deep as 8 inches (20 cm). Black huckleberry roots and rhizomes often reach the water table in lowland areas but rarely reach the water table in upland sites. Rhizome diameters were generally 0.25 to 0.75 inch (0.6-2 cm) but on occasion were as large as 2 inches (5 cm). Short roots were present along all rhizomes. Longer roots, sometimes as long as 2 feet (0.6 m), arose at rhizome forks or stem bases

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the leaves, or the bark, has been used in the treatment of dysentery. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of Bright’s disease.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/gaybac/all.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaylussacia_baccata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=GABA

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