This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
1. Ling (Calluna vulgaris, Hull). 2. Cross-leaved Heath (Erica Tetralix, L.). 3. Crimson Heath (Erica cinerea, L.). 4. Dodder (Cuscuta etiropoea, L.). 5. Eyebright (Euphrasia nemorosa, H. .Mart.). 6. Red Rattle (Pedicularis sylvatica, L.).
The fungi Guignardia vaccinii, Calyptospora goeppertiana, Conifer cluster-cup disease, Exobasidium vaccinii, Vaccinium leaf blister, and Melampsora vacciniorum attack Whortleberry. It is a food plant for many moths, amongst which are Small Lappet (Gastropacha ilicifolia), Beautiful Yellow Underwing (Anarta myrtilli), Grapholitha vaccini-cum, Scarce Dagger (Acronycta auricoma), Golden - rod Brindle (Cloantha solidaginis), and many others.
Vaccinium, Pliny, is the Latin name for the plant. Myrtillus is from the Latin myrtus, myrtle, because of the form of the leaves.
This upland shrub is called Bilberry, Bilberry Whortle, Blackberry, Blackheart, Black Whort, Black Whortle, Blaeberry, Bleaberry, Blueberry, Brylocks, Bullberries, Crow-berry, Fayberry, Fraghan, Hartberries, Horts, Huckle-berry, Hurtle-berry, Hurts, Whinberry, Whortleberry, Whorts, Winberry, Windberry. Blaeberry is bestowed on it because blae or blea refers to the blue colour of the fruit, hence "you're blae with cowl". Under the name Fraghan the berries are gathered in autumn, and women cry them out for sale.
The berries were used as "rob" and boiled till thick, honey and sugar being added. They have been used to make tarts in Scotland and the North. Grouse feed largely on the berries. They are eaten in Devonshire with clotted cream. A purple stain for paper or linen is derived from the juice. The berries are astringent. They are used in cases of dysentery. In the Highlands they are eaten with milk and used for jellies, and in the latter are mixed with whisky to give it a good flavour.
Essential Specific Characters: 190. Vaccinium Myrtillus, L. - Shrub, stem angular, woody, leaves ovate, serrate, deciduous, flowers greenish-red, drooping, globular, waxy, solitary, corolla globose, berries black, with grey bloom.