huckleberry, any plant of the genus Gaylussacia, shrubs of the family Ericaceae (heath family), native to North and South America. The box huckleberry ( G. brachycera ) of E North America is evergreen and is often cultivated. The common huckleberry ( G. baccata ), called black or high-bush huckleberry, is native E of the Mississippi; it is the best known and is valued for its edible blue or black fruit. The huckleberry and similar species are often confused with the blueberry (the names sometimes are used interchangeably), but the fruits are botanically distinct. Huckleberries for the market are nearly always gathered from the wild. Whortleberry, a name sometimes used for huckleberries, is more often used for blueberries. For the florists' huckleberry, see blueberry. Huckleberry is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Ericales, family Ericaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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