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Tree Campus: Evergreen Huckleberry

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Evergreen Huckleberry

q̓ʷəq̓ʷəlac - S. Lushootseed

Vaccinium ovatum (ERICACEAE)



Pacific Northwest



"Browse: California huckleberry is considered an important elk browse in parts of the Coast Ranges of southwestern Oregon. In many other areas, it is described as poor forage for both elk and deer. California huckleberry provides at least some browse for domestic sheep and goats. In certain locations, sheep use may be fairly heavy in late summer, fall, and winter. In parts of California, domestic goats and deer may utilize 30 to 40 percent of the current year's twigs and leaves.

Fruit: Berries of California huckleberry are eaten by a wide variety of birds and mammals. Thrushes, ptarmigans, towhees, ring-necked pheasant, and spruce, ruffed, blue, and sharp-tailed grouse readily consume the fruit of many huckleberries (Vaccinium spp.). Mammals such as the black bear, chipmunks, red fox, squirrels, gray fox, and skunks, also eat the berries of many Vacciniums. Grizzly bears along the coast of British Columbia relish the fruits of many species of huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.). 

California huckleberry presumably provides cover for a variety of wildlife species. It commonly forms dense thickets which may serve as hiding, resting, or nesting sites for many birds and mammals." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Fruit of the California huckleberry is sweet, delicious, and edible, although somewhat mealy, and with a "fairly strong musky flavor" . Large amounts of this berry are picked annually. Berries are relatively large but vary greatly in color and quality. Berries are made into wine, eaten fresh, cooked, and canned or frozen by home users and commercial processors. Berries are not considered as desirable for fresh fruit as those from other species of huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.)

Fruit of the California huckleberry was traditionally used by many native peoples of the West Coast. The Capella Indians reportedly traveled up to 20 or 30 miles annually to harvest the fruit. Berries were eaten fresh, mashed, or dried and made into cakes. Preserved berries provided essential vitamin C during the winter months." [1]



"Most commercially processed fruit is used as pie filling....

Foliage of the California huckleberry is used by florists for fillers and for background foliage in flower arrangements. It is also occasionally used to make Christmas decorations. Large amounts of California huckleberry foliage are harvested annually and shipped throughout the United States. During the early 1970s, an estimated $1 million worth of brush was harvested annually in western Washington .

California huckleberry is an attractive California shrub with striking reddish bark and evergreen leaves which remain a deep green in winter . This shrub has many horticultural uses and can be planted as a hedge plant or ground cover. California huckleberry may also have value for developing commercially important fruit-producing cultivars." [1]



[1] Tirmenstein, D. 1990. Vaccinium ovatum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [2020, July 21].

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