The blueberry bush is native to the United States and grows mainly in the northeastern area of the country. In fact, Maine produces the largest number of blueberries in the world, according to USDA Regional IPM Centers website. However, the Rabbiteye variety grows in Southern states. Blueberry bushes grow abundantly in the wild and identifying them is easy if you know the characteristics to look for. Identifying blueberry bushes is best done in the summer when the berries develop.
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Go to areas that are in full sunlight and that have rocky soil or oak trees nearby. Good places to look are near the edge of roadways, rocky cliffs, river banks, areas of recent controlled burning and in open meadows.
Look at ground level for low-growing blueberry bushes all the way up to waist or eye level for the high bush blueberry varieties. The bush will have vertical-growing, woody stems that grow up from the base and can reach between two and 20 feet tall.
Look for small, round berries that are one to one and a half inches wide and range from light red to deep purple. The berries are not shiny and often have a slightly whitish surface.
Pick one of the berries off of the bush and look at the part that was attached to the stem. It should be star-shaped and have five equally spaced points.
Look for bushes that have small, white, bell-shaped flowers, as well as berries on them, since this is sure sign of a blueberry plant. The flowers develop in the spring before the berries, but some late-blooming buds typically still remain on plants into the summer.
Tips and warnings
- Stay away from plants that resemble all of the above descriptions but have red stems since these are the poisonous Pokeweed plant.
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