Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Vaccinium pallidum

Introductory

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tirmenstein, D. A. 1991. Vaccinium pallidum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ []. ABBREVIATION : VACPAL SYNONYMS : Vaccinium vacillans SCS PLANT CODE : VAVA COMMON NAMES : hillside blueberry Blue Ridge blueberry TAXONOMY : The currently preferred scientific name of hillside blueberry is Vaccinium pallidum Ait. [32]. Hillside blueberry hybridizes with many species including Darrow's evergreen blueberry (V.darrowii), sweet hurt's blueberry (V. boreale), small cluster blueberry (V. tenellum), highbush blueberry (V. fuscatum), deerberry (V. stamineum), mayberry (V. elliottii), velvetleaf blueberry (V. myrtilloides), downy blueberry (V. atrococcum), low sweet blueberry (V. angustifolium), V. caesariense, and V. virgatum [14,19,58,60]. Hybrid swarms or complexes involving hillside blueberry, swamp highbush blueberry, and black highbush blueberry have been reported [58]. Some researchers suggest that V. alto-montanum may be a derivative of hillside blueberry hybridization [57,58] or, alternately, an autotetraploid of hillside blueberry [19]. Vander Kloet [61] reported that hillside blueberry may be an ancestor of highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum). Hairy-fruited blueberry (V. hirsutum) may be the product of hillside blueberry-deerberry hybridization [61]. LIFE FORM : Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY

DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Hillside blueberry grows from Minnesota and southern Ontario to Maine, and southward to the uplands of Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas [58,61]. It occurs abundantly in the Allegheny Plateau but is primarily local to the west in Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Oklahoma [8,61]. Hillside blueberry grows throughout the Ozarks, southern Appalachians, and Coastal Plain but is restricted to isolated populations to the north in much of New England [55,58]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory STATES : AL AR CT DE GA IL IN IA KS KY MD MA MI MN ME MO NH NJ NY NC OH OK PA RI SC TN VT VA WV WI ON BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K095 Great Lakes pine forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 44 Chestnut oak 45 Pitch pine 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 70 Longleaf pine 71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak 76 Shortleaf pine - oak 81 Loblolly pine 82 Loblolly pine - hardwood 110 Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Hillside blueberry is a prominent understory species in oak (Quercus spp.) woodlands, red maple (Acer rubrum) swamps, oak-chestnut (Castanea dentata spp.) woodlands, pine (Pinus spp.)-oak communities, ecotonal white pine (P. strobus) thickets, pitch pine (P. rigida) barrens, and open pine savannas [9,23,61,64]. Numerous evergreen and deciduous overstory dominants grow in association with hillside blueberry. Common associates include northern red oak (Q. rubra), black oak (Q. velutina), white oak (Q. alba), post oak (Q. stellata), chestnut oak (Q. prinus), blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), Virginia pine (P. virginia), shortleaf pine (P. echinata), pitch pine (P. rigida), loblolly pine (P. taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris), jack pine (P. banksiana), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), red maple, and black cherry (Prunus serotina) [23,28,30,37,64]. Understory associates: Hillside blueberry grows as a principal species in higher elevation spirea (Spirea corymbosa) meadows of Virginia [26]. In the southern Appalachians, mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia), rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), black huckleberry (Gaylussacia bacatta), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) typically occur with hillside blueberry [64]. Common associates in oak, oak-pine communities, and the Pine Barrens of New Jersey include black huckleberry, melampyrum (Melampyrum lineare), sweet-fern (Comptonia peregrina), cat greenbriar (Smilax glauca), mountain-laurel, dangleberry (Gaylussacia frondosa), yellow sedge (Carex pensylvanica), and bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) [12,18,34]. Sweet-fern, black huckleberry, dangleberry, and low sweet blueberry often grow with hillside blueberry in oak woodlands [31]. In the upper Midwest, sedges (Carex spp.), Dichanthelium depauperatum, and dewberry (Rubus hispidus) are common understory associates [2]. Hillside blueberry grows as a "diagnostic understory species" in certain old-growth post oak-black oak communities of the Piedmont [30]. It is listed as an indicator or codominant in the following community type classification system: Old-growth forests within the Piedmont of South Carolina [30]

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The wood of hillside blueberry is soft and white but has no known commercial value [53]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Browse: The importance of hillside blueberry browse to wild ungulates appears variable. It is reported to have fair forage value in the Ozarks [47] and receives only light year-round use by white-tailed deer in parts of central Pennsylvania [43]. White-tailed deer seldom feed on hillside blueberry browse during the winter in New Jersey, but in parts of Pennsylvania, it may be eaten during the spring and summer [38]. Hillside blueberry has been described as a preferred white-tailed deer food in parts of Virginia [15]. This preference may be due in part to the presence of juicy, flavorful berries. Fruit: Fruit of hillside blueberry is widely used by numerous species of small birds and mammals [53]. In Virginia and presumably elsewhere, berries are readily consumed by the wild turkey [15]. Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) fruits are eaten by many species of birds including the rufous-sided towhee, northern mockingbird, gray catbird, brown thrasher, American robin, whimbel, herring gull, Canada goose, ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, eastern bluebird, and various tanagers and thrushes [40,59,63]. The black bear, red squirrel, gray fox, red fox, skunks, and chipmunks also feed on blueberry fruit [40,59,61]. PALATABILITY : Palatability of hillside blueberry browse to deer has not been well documented [12]. Several food habit studies suggest that it is of at least fair palatability to deer in many areas. The juicy, sweet fruit is highly palatable to numerous species of birds and mammals [53]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Fruit: Hillside blueberry is characterized by a high soluble solid content [3]. Soluble solids average 13.07 percent, with a titratable acidity of 0.67 [3]. Each berry averages 8 calories [63]. Browse: Leaf nutrient content varies according to phenological development. Killingbeck and Costigan [34] reported the following nutrient values: micrograms per cm -2 N P Cu Fe Zn pre-senescent leaves 57.5 5.5 0.05 0.15 0.07 senescent leaves 2.3 0.4 0.002 0.008 0.013 COVER VALUE : The low-statured hillside blueberry presumably provides minimal cover for large mammals. However, plants form good ground cover for a variety of small mammals [53]. Fallen leaves commonly lodge in dense thickets of this shrub increasing its cover value during late fall and winter [53]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Hillside blueberry can retard erosion on steep slopes [53]. Most blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) can be readily propagated by hardwood cuttings or by seed [65]. The weight of 100 seeds averages 0.001 ounce (34 mg) [60]. Propagation techniques have been examined in detail [65]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Fruit of hillside blueberry is sweet to bland and of "fair quality" [14,58]. Fruit is eaten fresh or used to make pies and jellies [53]. It receives casual use throughout its range but is harvested commercially in northeastern Alabama, northwestern Georgia, western and northwestern Arkansas, and West Virginia [61]. In many areas, quantities of berries are difficult to collect because the fruit ripens over a relatively long period of time [53]. Hillside blueberry has shown promise for use in breeding hardy, early-ripening, fruit-producing cultivars [4,19]. It has shown particular promise for developing commercial blueberries adapted to upland mineral soils [35]. Hillside blueberry is an attractive shrub and is occasionally grown for its ornamental value as well as its fruit [33]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Drought resistance: Hillside blueberry is resistant to drought [19,61] but is not as drought tolerant as many other southern blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) [20]. Radiation: Hillside blueberry is resistant to ionizing gamma radiation [10]. Plants sprouted from rhizomes 0.4 inch (1.0 cm) or greater in depth following aerial exposure to 105 R per day. Plants did not sprout after rhizomes were exposed to 65 to 70 R per day [10]. Disease: The shrub is susceptible to "stunt" virus [19]. Timber harvest: Cover of hillside blueberry is reportedly greater in cut stands (20 percent) than in uncut stands (9 percent) [12].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Hillside blueberry is a variable, erect, deciduous shrub that commonly reaches 9 to 21 inches (23-51 cm) in height [14,48,61]. On some sites, plants reach maximum heights of only 3 inches (8 cm), but on extremely favorable sites, individuals may grow to 39 inches (100 cm) [61]. This rhizomatous shrub forms small to extensive colonies [14,61]. The terete to slightly angled twigs are pale green, reddish, yellow, or pale gray [33,48,48,53]. The variable twigs are glabrous to pubescent [58]. Stem morphology has been examined in detail [45]. Smooth, slightly ridged bark is greenish-brown or red [53]. Roots are finely textured [20]. The simple, alternate leaves are variable in both color and morphology [53]. Leaves are ovate, obovate, spatulate, or broadly elliptic and 0.8 to 2.3 inches (2.0-6 cm) in length [48,58]. Margins are entire, minutely serrulate, or ciliate [53,58]. The glabrous upper surface is yellow-green, pale green, or dark blue green, whereas leaves are paler and glaucous to pubescent beneath [25,58,61]. Leaves turn scarlet or crimson in the fall [33]. Cylindric to urceolate-campanulate inflorescences are borne in groups of 4 to 11 on axillary or terminal racemes [25,48,58]. The perfect flowers are pink, greenish-white, or occasionally white [53,61] and average 0.25 inch (6 mm) in length [33]. Floral morphology has been reported in detail [46]. Fruit is a sweet, juicy, globular berry 0.2 to 0.5 inch (4-12 mm) in diameter [25,33,48,58]. Average berry weight has been estimated at approximately 0.01 ounce (0.28 g) [3]. Berries are blue and glaucous to black and shiny [25,61]. White-fruited forms, although rare, have also been reported [33]. Each berry contains 8 to 14 variable, irregular seeds [25,53]. Of this number, approximately four are viable [63]. Viable seeds tend to be brown or reddish-brown [25,53]. The glossy, pitted seeds average 0.04 to 0.06 inch (1-1.6 mm) in length [53]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Chamaephyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Hillside blueberry can regenerate through seed or by vegetative means. Seed: In some areas, fruit is produced in abundance [33,53], but elsewhere yields are more often small [16]. Vander Kloet and Austin-Smith [63] reported that plants produce fruit "en masse" in the Appalachians and Ozarks but produce fruit sporadically near the Atlantic Coast. Little is known about specific germination requirements. Radicles generally emerge within 13 days, dicotyledons develop within 23 days, and true leaves are produced within 38 days after planting [60]. The seeds of most blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) germinate only on good sites in favorable years. Ballington and others [4] observed only a few surviving hillside blueberry seedlings. Vegetative regeneration: Hillside blueberry spreads by means of rhizome expansion to form extensive colonies [43,61]. Plants sprout readily from underground rhizomes after aboveground vegetation is damaged or destroyed. Most rhizomes are concentrated in the top 1.9 inches (5 cm) of the A horizon of the soil, but some extend to depths of 6 inches (15 cm) [10]. Buds nearest the stem apex typically sprout first after disturbance [10]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Hillside blueberry grows on dry, rocky hillsides, upland ridges, rocky outcrops and ledges, sandy knolls, and in shale barrens [14,58,61,53]. It commonly occurs on a variety of disturbed sites, such as abandoned pastures and farmlands, along roadsides, and in clearcuts [14,44,58,61]. Hillside blueberry is a common component of dry, open woods but also grows in hardwood swamps [51,61]. It generally occurs below 3,500 feet (1,061 m) in elevation [14]. Soils: Hillside blueberry grows on dry, sandy or gravelly soils, as well as on heavy clay [17,25,30]. It grows well on acidic soils [53]. Parent materials are variable but include chert, granite, gneiss, and schist [25,30]. Climate: Hillside blueberry grows in a humid mesothermal climatic regime [34]. Average annual precipitation amounts have been reported as ranging from 39 to 47 inches (100-120 cm) [6,34,50]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Hillside blueberry is reported to have "ruderale tendencies" [57,58]. It commonly invades disturbed sites, such as abandoned farms and clearcuts [58,61]. In parts of New England, it has become widely established on abandoned pasturelands. Hillside blueberry, black huckleberry, and roundleaf greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia) have assumed dominance in these relatively stable plant communities [44]. In many areas, it becomes more abundant on plots burned at frequent intervals [27]. Hillside blueberry also grows in several climax communities. It occurs in climax stands in pine-oak communities of New Jersey and in old-growth post oak-black oak communities of the South Carolina Piedmont [30,37]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Flowers generally appear before the leaves are "half grown" [33]. The mean interval between flowering and fruiting is approximately 66 days [24]. Vander Kloet [61] reported a period of 60 days until seed set. Hillside blueberry often ripens over a relatively long period of time [53], although much geographic variation has been observed. In the foothills of the Appalachian and Ozark mountains, populations often fruit synchronously [63]. However, in coastal regions, fruit ripens sporadically [63]. Ballington and others [4] observed peak ripeness in early June, although berries could be harvested from July 12 to July 29. Generalized flowering and fruiting dates are as follows: Location Flowering Fruit ripe Authority VA ---- July - August Uttal 1987 Great Plains April - June July - September Great Plains Flora Flora Assoc. 1986 n-c Great Plains mid-April early July Stephens 1973 NC, SC March - April June - July Radford and others 1964 OH ---- July 16-28 Gorchov 1987 New England May 10 - June 14 ---- Seymour 1985

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fire is a dominant influence in many Coastal Plain forests in which hillside blueberry occurs [41]. Historic fire intervals have been estimated at approximately 65 years in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey [6]. Fire intervals are estimated at 40 years in oak-pine stands and as frequent as every 8 years in pitch pine stands of New Jersey [6]. Hillside blueberry is well represented in these communities. Although it can survive during fairly long fire-free intervals, this shrub is particularly well adapted to frequent fires. In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, it typically assumes importance under a regime of frequent fires [10,12]. Burning more than once within 5 years can produce increases in the relative abundance of hillside blueberry. Buell and Cantlon [12] observed no "regular trend in cover until burns became more frequent than every 3 years." However, plants may be reduced by annual burning. On annually burned plots, hillside blueberry cover was approximately one-half that of less frequently burned plots [12]. Hillside blueberry is well adapted to fire [10]. It readily regenerates in postfire communities [14] from rhizomes, root crowns, or surviving portions of aerial stems [10]. As with other lowbush blueberries, clones of hillside blueberry are rejuvenated as fire removes decadent material and stimulates sprouting [52]. Birds and mammals may transport some seed from off-site, but establishment is probably limited to good sites in favorable years. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Small shrub, adventitious-bud root crown Rhizomatous shrub, rhizome in soil Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Most aboveground stems are presumably killed by fire. However, buds are resistant to heat damage [10]. Brayton and Woodwell [10] observed a "few" surviving aboveground stems after a "heavy burn" in New York. Underground regenerative structures are generally well protected by overlying layers of soil. Postfire mortality is apparently low. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Hillside blueberry sprouts readily after fire [10,14] from underground rhizomes, buds located on the root collar, and buds located on portions of surviving aerial stems [10,42]. Surviving buds located nearest the stem apex generally sprout to produce the new shoots [10]. Plants commonly sprout from underground rhizomes after aboveground foliage is consumed by fire. Sprouts often originate from root collar buds after only light damage [42]. Sprouting ability may be reduced by severe damage or by fires at too frequent intervals [10]. After wildfires in white oak-scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea)-pitch pine forests of New Jersey, shoot elongation of hillside blueberry was reduced by "heavy" as compared to "light" burns. However, greater population increases were noted after "heavy" burns. Comparative values were as follows [10]: stems/ m sq burn 117 light 138 heavy Some seedling establishment may occur as birds and mammals transport seed from off-site. However, seedling establishment in most blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) is generally limited to favorable sites in good years. Recovery of hillside blueberry is typically rapid. By the second year after a prescribed fire in a clearcut jack pine stand in northern lower Michigan, plants exhibited significant increases in cover [1]. Hillside blueberry was considered dominant in both burned and unburned stands [1]. Cover was documented as follows [1,2]: 1979 1980 1981 cover freq. cover freq. cover freq. mature jack pine stand 27.2 30.0 -- -- -- -- unburned clearcut 11.3 43.3 20.5 44.0 19.2 44.4 burned clearcut 14.3 34.2 9.0 41.0 19.4 43.9 Although hillside blueberry generally increases after fire, small reductions have been noted on certain sites. Ten to 26 months after a burn in north-central New York, Swan [54] reported average frequencies on unburned plots of 47 percent, whereas the average frequency on burned plots was 36 percent. Similarly, Brown [11] observed relative densities of 37.58 percent on burned sites and 43.92 percent on unburned sites in Rhode Island woodlands. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including lowbush blueberry, that was not available when this species review was written: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Prescribed fire: Clones of lowbush blueberries such as hillside blueberry persist for years on undisturbed sites. However, fruit production and overall vigor typically decline with age [52]. Fire has been widely used to rejuvenate decadent clones and improve wildlife habitat [52]. Biomass: Estimates of hillside blueberry biomass in New Jersey Pine Barrens were as follows [6]: (kg/ha) control wildfire wildfire pres. burn pres. burn ---- + 1 162 35 Environmental consideration: Hillside blueberry is able to persist in chestnut-oak woodlands of Pennsylvania adjacent to zinc smelters [31]. Studies in these contaminated communities indicated that many species, normally favored by fire, were weakened by exposure to high soil levels of zinc and did not assume prominence on burned sites. However, hillside blueberry, although also weakened by exposure to soil contaminants, nevertheless increased on burned plots. Percent cover was as follows [31]: burned unburned (sampled 14-15 years after fire) control 7.8 1.2 smelter site 4.7 0.9

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Vaccinium pallidum
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