PLANT: Shrubs openly branching and forming open colonies from woody rhizomes, 10- 40 cm tall; branches bright green, glabrous, sharply angled, flexuous. LEAVES: simple, ovate to elliptic, 1-4 cm long, 7-16 mm wide, thin, glabrous or with scattered glandular hairs; tips acute. INFLORESCENCE: solitary in leaf axils of current year’s growth. FLOWERS: 2-4 mm long; sepals glabrous, the lobes none to obscure; corollas white or pink; filaments glabrous; anthers awned. FRUITS: berries, 5-9 mm wide, blue or blue-black. 2n = 24, 48. NOTES: Mixed coniferous and spruce-fir forest, hillsides, openings: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Graham cos. (Fig. 1D); 2400-3400 m (7900-11,000 ft); Jun-Jul; se AZ and NM, n to Can., temperate Northern Hemisphere. REFERENCES: John L. Anderson , 2008, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Ericaceae. CANOTIA 4 (2): 21-30.
FNA 2009, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Yatskievych and Windham 2008
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Herbaceous to shrubby perennials, 10-40 cm tall, branches bright green, flexuous, strongly and acutely angled, twigs yellowish or tinged with red, plants forming open colonies from woody rhizomes. Leaves: Alternate, ovate or oval to elliptic, 10-25 mm long, 7-16 mm wide, margins serrulate, acute to rounded at the apex, blades subsessile, glabrous or with scattered glandular hairs, deciduous. Flowers: Pink or white, urn shaped, corollas 2-4 mm long, sepals minute, 4-5, persistent, filaments glabrous, anthers included, prolonged upward into tubes and opening by terminal pores, often awned on the back, flowers borne solitary in leaf axils. Fruits: Berrylike, 5-9 mm in diameter, blue or blue-black, not glaucous, juicy, sweet, edible. Seeds many. Ecology: Found in open woods, among mixed conifers, spruce-fir forests, and on hillsides, from 8,000-11,000 ft (2438-3353 m); flowering June-July. Distribution: Widespread from Canada to New Mexico and Arizona. Notes: The rhizomatous colonies, angled, green twigs and blue berries are the key indicators for this species. Look for this species also under V. oreophilum in older texts. Ethnobotany: The berries were used as a principal food. Etymology: Vaccinium is the ancient Latin name of the bilberry, while myrtillus means myrtle like. Synonyms: Vaccinium myrtillus subsp. oreophilum, Vaccinium myrtillus var. oreophilum, Vaccinium oreophilum Editor: LCrumbacher 2011