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Published In: Dendrologie 2(1): 93. 1872. (Dendrologie) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Gaylussacia baccata (Wangenh.) K. Koch (black huckleberry)

Pl. 374 d, e; Map 1640

Plants shrubs, usually colonial by stolons and/or rhizomes. Stems 0.2–1.5 m tall, the bark more or less smooth, dark gray. Twigs usually sparsely to moderately and finely hairy, sometimes also glandular, green to reddish brown, becoming glabrous and gray to dark gray, the winter buds ovoid, with usually 3 outer scales, these dotted with minute, yellow resin glands (at least when young). Leaves well spaced along the branches, short-petiolate. Leaf blades 2.5–6.0 cm long, 1.0–2.5 cm wide, herbaceous to more or less leathery, elliptic to oblong-ovate, narrowed to a bluntly or less commonly sharply pointed tip, narrowed at the base, the margins entire or nearly so, the upper surface usually inconspicuously hairy along the midvein at maturity, usually with a few inconspicuous yellow resin glands, yellowish green, the undersurface sometimes inconspicuously hairy along the midvein, dotted with minute, yellow resin glands, otherwise pale green. Inflorescences short axillary racemes 1–3 cm long, with 2–7 flowers, each subtended by an inconspicuous bract 1.5–2.0 mm long, these usually shed as the flowers open. Flowers actinomorphic, epigynous. Hypanthium and calyx 1.4–2.0 mm long at flowering, fused to the ovary, dotted with minute, yellow resin glands. Calyces of 5 free sepals, 0.8–1.2 mm long, these triangular to broadly triangular, persistent at fruiting. Corollas 4–6 mm long, tubular to slightly urn-shaped, with 5 short, spreading to recurved lobes, white or greenish white, often pinkish-tinged. Stamens 10, not exserted, the filaments short, straight, attached at the corolla base, lacking spurs near the anther-filament junction, the anther sacs tapered into short tubes toward the apparent tip, dehiscing by a short, slitlike, terminal pore. Ovary inferior, with 10 locules, the placentation axile. Styles 5–6 mm long, straight, exserted, the stigma capitate, often slightly lobed. Ovules 1 per locule. Fruits somewhat fleshy drupes, 6–10 mm in diameter, black, with 10 nutlets. Nutlets 1.5–1.9 mm long, 1-seeded, asymmetrically ovate in outline, flattened (wedge-shaped), rounded dorsally, the surface with dense, minute papillae, appearing pebbled, tan to yellowish tan. 2n=24. April–May.

Uncommon, known thus far only from Montgomery and Perry Counties, with an unconfirmed report from Ste. Genevieve County (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota and Arkansas; Canada). Mesic to dry upland forests, usually on ridges above bluffs on acidic substrates.

In general appearance, this species is very similar to some Vaccinium species, especially V. pallidum. Thus, plants of Gaylussacia easily may be overlooked in the field. Huckleberries are readily distinguished from blueberries by their gland-dotted leaves and leathery fruit with 10 seedlike nutlets. The fruits are edible, but not very palatable or juicy. Gaylussacia baccata is pollinated by andrenid bees and honeybees. Nectar is secreted by nectaries located near the base of the style and is held in place by the filaments. In order to reach the nectar, the bee must stick its probiscis between the style and anthers, thereby getting pollen on its face. Bagging studies indicate that G. baccata is self-incompatible and is dependent on insects to cross-pollinate its flowers (Lovell, 1940).



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