May 30 2011
If you’re hiking in the Laurel Highlands today to beat the heat, you may come across this blooming shrub.
Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum) is a plant in the blueberry family that grows in well-drained, acidic soil. The berries are eaten by many birds and mammals, and though the berries are too large for a small bird to eat in one bite they break open the ripe ones for a tasty meal.
Deer are fond of the berries and will eat most parts of the plant including its leaves and twigs. In an over-browsed forest deerberry may suffer but it’s otherwise doing very well throughout its range.
Watch for it on dry uplands in the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains.
Dianne Machesney found this one at Quebec Run Wild Area in the Forbes State Forest.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)
p.s. Speaking of heat, because of high temperatures our air quality will be poor today. (ozone!)