Huckleberries are fruit-bearing shrubs native to the northwest United States and Canada. They closely resemble blueberries, with whom they share the genus Vaccinium. Huckleberries have never been commercially farmed and can only be found growing wild or sometimes in small home gardens.
Types of Wild Huckleberries
There are several different types of wild huckleberries. Upland varieties such as Vaccinium globulare prefer well-drained soils and produce very dark blue (almost black) berries. There are also several species of lowland huckleberries thriving in bogs and swamps. In addition, huckleberries such as Vaccinium scoparium (Grouse whortleberry), which produce small, thin-skinned reddish berries flourish in the northwestern woodlands.
Regions Where Wild Huckleberries Grow
Wild huckleberries grow abundantly from the Rocky Mountains west and north towards Alaska. States and provinces in which they are found include Montana, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Alaska and British Columbia.
Wild Huckleberry Habitats
Most huckleberries (particularly the upland varieties) thrive between 2,000 and 11,000 feet in elevation. They prefer acidic mountain soil. Look for huckleberries in forests with at least 50 per cent tree cover. They are especially partial to forests populated by lodgepole pine, larch, spruce and subalpine fir trees. Forests which were logged or burnt between 20 and 50 years ago are ideal spots for finding wild huckleberries. North-facing hillsides are also favoured.