Blueberries Sweet, juicy blueberries are rich in natural pro-anthocyanin pigment antioxidants. These tiny, round blue-purple berries have long been attributed tothe longevity and wellness of indigenous people living around subarctic regions in the Northern hemisphere.
Botanically, it is a deciduous shrub belonging to the family of Ericaceae, in the genus, Vaccinium.
Broadly, Vaccinium species classified according to their growth habit as high-bush and low-bush berries.
High-bush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is a highly branched, erect deciduous shrub with gorgeous foliage. It grows up to 10-12 feet tall in cultivated orchards and bears clusters of small, creamy-white flowers during spring, which subsequently develop into tiny berries after about two months.
In the wild, high bush blueberry found on the edges of marshes, lakes, ponds, and streams.
Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum, also known as V. ashei.) is a medium-sized shrub grows naturally in South Eastern parts of the USA.
Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a short, erect plant that grows about one-two feet in height and spread through underground rhizomes. Under the cultivated farms, it is grown as two-year cycle crop since the whole plant is either mowed down or burnt to allow new shoots that appear only during the next season.
Both species require well-drained sandy, acidic soil to flourish. The shrub prefers open sunny conditions and intolerant of shade. In general, the berries can be ready for harvesting when they turn completely blue from green-pink, become soft, juicy, and sweeter. Traditionally, blueberries gathered by handpicking, and therefore, require intense labor. Soon after the berries separated from the shrub, they sorted out and transported to a cold facility for storage.