Blueberries are flowering plants that are native to North America. These shrubs can grow up to four meters tall and may be deciduous or evergreen, with small bell-shaped flowers. The blueberry plant typically bears fruit in the summer, with the production peaking in July. The fruit can be more than a half-inch in diameter and become a deep indigo when ripe. Blueberries are sold fresh, frozen, dried or pureed, and they are commonly used in cereals, jellies, snack foods and pies.
VacciniumBlueberries are in the Vaccinium genus, which contains over 450 species of plants. The species of blueberries that are of commercial interest include Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium ashei and Vaccinium angustifolium.
Frost pocketFrost pockets are highly localized areas that tend to form frost while the surrounding areas remain free of frost. Frost pockets are a matter of great concern to blueberry growers.
Michigan State University Extension has a variety of tips on growing blueberries, including avoiding frost pockets.
PhytochemicalsPhytochemicals are chemical compounds that are derived from plants and may have properties that are beneficial to human health. Blueberries are one of the best sources for phytochemicals.
Natural News provides a discussion of the phytochemicals in blueberries, including their health benefits.
IntercroppingIntercropping is the process of growing more than one type of plant in the same area. Gardeners who are short onspace frequently intercrop blueberries with other plants.
Garden Guides provides specific tips for intercropping blueberries, including the best plants with which to to grow them. The biggest challenge to intercropping blueberries is finding other acid-loving plants.
AntioxidantAntioxidants are substances that protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals, such as oxygen molecules. Blueberries are high in antioxidants and also have a high fiber content.
WholeHealthMD.com provides extensive nutritional information on blueberries, including their antioxidant properties. This site also has tips on the storage and preparation of blueberries.
False fruitA false fruit is a fruit in which some of the flesh is derived from adjacent tissue, rather than the ovary itself. The blueberry has an inferior ovary and is therefore known as a false berry.
Health Lab provides a description of various types of fruit, including false fruits such as blueberries. Bananas and cranberries are other types of false berries.