The bilberry is a perennial shrub plant. While its deciduous ovate leaves fall during autumn, it keeps its evergreen stems. The bilberry`s bell-shaped green or red small flowers bloom from May to July. Dark blue, round and delicious berries start to form in July. It can be confused with the bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum).
Bilberry is an indicator species of moist heath forests. It grows also in grove-like heathlands, dryish heaths and corresponding peatlands. It is prevalent in Northern Europe and Asia in the boreal and subarctic zone. The bilberry plant favors sparse forest tree stands, and it thrives in thinned forests. When a forest gets regenerated, bilberry disappears for a while and returns when conditions are favorable again.
The bilberry is a very popular and much-loved berry among foragers. It is a real superfood and is local food at its best. The delicious and very healthful berries can be used in many different ways. Tea made from the stems and leaves have been traditionally used to treat indigestion and urinary infections.
Bilberry is a common species in our forests and is an important source of food for many animals, such as bears and grouses. Bilberry flowers attract bees and other insects. Its main pollinator, the bumblebee, is a very welcome resident of the forest.
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