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Vaccinium myrtillusBilberries

By Leanne Downs13 February 2019

Vaccinium myrtillus, known commonly as the Bilberry or Blaeberry are similar in taste and appearance to cultivated Blueberries, but though much smaller, they are more nutritious and delicious

Where can I find Bilberries?

Bilberries are widely found in the UK but mainly in heath and moorland areas or woodland areas with damp and acidic soil. You are most likely to find them in abundance in uplands areas and in more northern parts of the UK.

When can I find Bilberries?

Bilberries ripen from the end of July through to September.

Young leaves emerging in the spring are small and bright green

How to identify Bilberries

Bilberries look similar to blueberries when ripe. They are dark blue with a whitish bloom that gives them a light mottled appearance. They are much smaller than blueberries and have a flat end which sometimes has the remains of a flower attached to it. The leaves are bright green, though they often are tinged with red or are fully red. They are oval in shape and slightly toothed. The flowers are small and pink or red in colour, loosely resembling berries due to their ball like shape. They are not easily confused with other species that are commonly found in their habitat, apart from other variations of bilberry which are all edible.

Uses for Bilberries

Bilberries are great eaten fresh straight from the plant but can also be used in pies or to make jams. They also make great additions to cakes and icecream. The leaves are used to make tea as are the flowers. The flowers are also a pretty addition to salads and can be used to make syrups. They are rich in antioxidants and as such are often used medicinally.

The berries are ripe through to September

Leanne Downs

About Leanne Downs

Leanne Downs is the content editor for Thryve and works as an outdoor writer, blogger and photographer. She loves hiking, hillwalking and wild camping.

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