Vaccinium myrtillus


Common Name: Bilberry

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Ericaceae (family name)
Forage for Pollinators: Produces abundant nectar and pollinated by both nectar foragers and pollen foraging bees, being a buzz-pollinated Ericacea species. Visited by several bee species including Andrena bicolour a small solitary mining bee, Bombus monticla, the Bilberry bumblebee with rich-orange tail, Lasioglossum calceatum, Common Furrow bee or Slender Mining bee
Flowering time: May, June, July
Growing information: DECIDUOUS SHRUB, native widespread across Europe from Iceland to Spain including the British Isles, and Western Canada/USA as far as Japan. It grows best on acidic soil from peat bogs to sandy soils and where established can slowly spread, but not on alkaline soil. It naturally grows on heaths and moorland and can also occupy under-storey areas of woodland edges. Growing to a height and spread of 45cm, the flowers are the typical urn-shaped cups of this family and distinctive red colour, flowering over several months, followed by edible fruit in the summer, commonly and traditionally used to make pies and jams. It also contains naturally high concentrations of triterpenes and currently being researched for possible biological effects
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons