Bilberry | Whortleberry – Vaccinium Myrtillus

Bilberry, Vaccinium Myrtillus is a short, low-growing, fruit bearing shrub, a member of the Vaccinium family the genus Vaccinium that includes upward of 450 species. The species most frequently referred to be Vaccinium myrtillus L., otherwise called the European blueberry. The plant is also known as whortleberry, whinberry or myrtle blueberry. The word bilberry is also applied at times in the common names of other species of the genus.


Bilberries (Whortleberries) are found in dampish, acidic soils throughout the temperate and subarctic parts of the Earth. They are close related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries in the genus Vaccinium.

The stem of the plant is smooth, angulated, greenish, branched and inflexible. The leaves are oviform, net-veined, coarsely serrate, dropping in fall. The solitary, waxy and pinkish flowers appear in MindSpring to early summer.

Bilberry Fruit

The Bilberry fruit, a berry, is smaller than that of the blueberry and alike in taste. The easiest method to differentiate the whortleberry is that it develops single or paired berries on the bush rather than clusters, as the blueberry does.

Whortleberries are darker in color, and generally appear near black with a slight tone of blue. Additionally, the blueberry’s fruit flesh is light green; the Bilberry is red or purplish, heavily staining the fingers and lips when consuming the raw fruit.

The fruits can be consumed fresh or made into juices, jams, fruit fools, pies, it is also utilised as a base for liqueurs, flavouring for sherbets and other desserts. The fruit and leaf are both used medicinally. Bilberries often linked up with betterment of night vision, they are named in a popular chronicle of World War II RAF pilots eating bilberry jam to sharpen sight for night military missions.

While the effect of bilberry on night vision is debatable, the advantageous effect of bilberry on eye-related diseases shouldn’t be brushed off. In general, there are no known dangerous bilberry side effects, and the herb is considered safe. However, chronic, daily usage of the bilberry leaf could lead to side effects.

Bilberry Propagation Methods

Bilberries love subsoil or soil rich in humus, similar to that of a wood or heath-land. Propagation is primarily by layering however, whortleberries are extremely hard to grow and are therefore rarely cultivated. Fruits are by and large collected from wild plants.

Vaccinium Myrtillus, bilberry

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