The Whortleberry
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

The Whortleberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)is also known by the names: blueberry, hurtleberry, bilberry, and huckleberry. This plant produces blue fruit on the scrub which is a member of the heath (Ericaceae) family. This plant is native to northern Europe and North America.

Most bilberries (whortleberries) are used in jams, jellies, and pies. The leaves and fruit of the bilberry bush has a long history of medicinal uses. It was thought to promote easy childbirth, aid digestion, cure urinary tract infections, stop diarrhea, and inflammation. Pilots in WWII found that bilberry jam improved their night vision.

Bilberry tea made from fresh berries is helpful for gingivitus, mouth sores, varicose veins, and for a range of eye disorders. Bilberry is high in vitamin C and contains anthocyanoside (both which are thought to have a therapeutic effect on vision).

No side effects are associated with eating the bilberry fruit, HOWEVER, a tea made from bilberry leaves can be toxic, if used long term. The leaves have a chemical called neomyrilicone that can affect blood sugar levels.

The whortleberry is low-growing thicket. It is similar to the blueberry that grows in the United States.

The blueberry is a tall, multi-branched shrub that can grow up to 12 ft. high. It has alternate yellow-green leaves, and has pinkish, urn shaped flowers, followed by the global blue-black berries, with a whitish bloom.

Blueberries grow in woods, swamps, and boggy lowlands, but can exist in upland woods. I favorite use for blueberries is blueberry muffins and pancakes.

Red Whortleberry:

The Plant Badge of the Clan Chattan is the "Red Whortleberry"(vaccinium vitis-idaea). It grows on the slopes of the hills of Clan Chattan Country. It flowers from May to August, and from then until Ocotber, it produces a berry which gradually turns from green to a deep red. The plant is evergreen and often is found on forest floors in highwer elevations.

The Red Whortleberry (Vaccinium vcitis-idaea) is a relative of the Cranberry. Other names for this species is: Lingonberries, cowberries, foxberry and northern mountain cranberry. The Red Whortleberry is generally found in forests, moors, and on the slopes near Clan Chattan members. In Gaelic, this berry is known as Lus nam Braoileg. The Red Whortleberry flowers from May through August, and in October it produces a berry which gradually turns from green to a deep red.


Red Whortleberry Rolls ... McPhail Badges

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