Family, Heath. Color, pink or red. Leaves, entire, alternate, ovate, with short petioles or none, profusely dotted underneath with resinous, yellow spots, 1 to 2 inches long. Calyx, resinous-dotted, 5-pointed, the points remaining and crowning the ripened berry. Corolla, bell - shape, contracted above, 5-parted, small. Stamens, 10, the anthers opening by a pore at the apex. Fruit, a black, berry-like drupe formed by the clinging of the calyx to the ovary, 10-celled, each cell containing a bony seed. Many of these fail of coming to perfection, only 2 or 3 maturing. May and June.
A much-branched shrub, 1 to 3 feet high, in dry or sandy soil, woods or thickets, along the Atlantic coast and westward to Wisconsin and Kentucky. Fruit ripe in July and August. This is the common black huckleberry of the markets, a glossy-black, hard-seeded fruit. There are many varieties, one with larger berries, one with leaves and berries covered with a blackish bloom.
Of the Genus Gaylussacia there are nearly 80 species, some of them trees, most of them bearing edible berries.
Whortleberry means hart's-berry, from the Saxon heort-berry. Along the Atlantic seaboard there are but 3 species, not confounding them with blueberries, which are now considered a separate genus. The leaves of all turn bright red in fall, and are among those shrubs which help to cover the fields, pastures, and roadsides with masses of fine color.