Also called: 'hurtleberry', 'whortleberry' or 'bilberry'
Scientific Name: Plant family Ericaceae
From Hike 226 to Palmateer Point 8/15/13
The name Huckleberry is often applied to a wide range of
different plants all bearing small, and usually blue, berries.
It is the common name for various Gaylussacia species,
and some Vaccinium species.
Twelve species of huckleberries grow in Washington and Oregon.
The most sought-after huckleberry is the thin-leaved huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum). This species is renowned for its large, sweet, purple berries, occurring singly on the plant.
The peak season for picking huckleberries occurs between mid-August to mid-September.
The fruit of the various species of plant
called huckleberries is generally edible and tasty.
For thousands of years, American Indians spent summer and fall high in the
mountains hunting, fishing, picking berries, and celebrating the plentiful gifts
of the land.
Once every few years, they burned the berry fields after harvest,
to kill invading trees and to insure healthy fields the following year.
For countless years, repeated fires caused by lightning or
set by Indians killed the invading trees and brush.
But the forest is constantly trying to reclaim its lost territory.
If it were not for fire, the berry fields of today
would have long since been reclaimed by the forest.
The problem today is managing the fires -- people resist allowing wildfires to
do what they have normally done for centuries