Gaylussacia baccata

This deciduous shrub provides multiseason interest with spring flowers, tasty fruit in summer and blazing fall foliage.

Black huckleberry is a deciduous colonial shrub with clusters of small bell-shaped pink to red flowers in spring, followed by dark berries in summer. Fall foliage ranges from a brilliant orange to a fiery red.

Black huckleberry’s fruit is often mistaken for blueberry. It attracts pollinators and feeds wildlife, making it a good fit for a naturalistic garden.
G. Graham/new brunswick Canada department of agriculture and aquaculture

It’s on the small side, growing from 1-3 feet tall and wide.

The Mt. Cuba Center calls black huckleberry an underused and under-appreciated shrub for the naturalistic garden.

G. baccata is native to New England, the Northeastern U.S., Mid-Atlantic states, the Southeast, throughout the Gulf Coast, and in parts of the Midwest. Black huckleberry is often mistaken for blueberry, but huckleberries fruit later than blueberries and the fruit is glossy purple-black.

Companion plants include Vaccinium corymbosum, Rhododendron maximum, Kalmia latifolia, Pinus strobus, Gaultheria procumbens, Galax urceolata, and Goodyera repens.

Why grow Gaylussacia baccata?

  • Another good-looking edible for the landscape. Fruit is spicy and sweet, can be eaten raw, used in pies, preserves etc., or dried.
  • Multiple-season interest. Flowers in spring, fruit in summer, brilliant foliage in autumn.
  • Attracts pollinators and feeds the wildlife.
  • Grows in a number of different conditions including dry, average or moist soils, as well as numerous types of soils such as sandy, loam and rocky.
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