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Bog Huckleberry at Polly's Cove, Nova Scotia
Wild huckleberry in the Mount Hood National Forest. The floral remnants, signifying a false berry, are visible on the apex of the fruit.

Huckleberry is a name used in North America for several plants in two closely related genera in the family Ericaceae: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium. The huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho.

While some Vaccinium species, such as the Red Huckleberry, are always called huckleberries, other species may be called blueberries or huckleberries depending upon local custom. Usually, the distinction between them is that blueberries have numerous tiny seeds, while huckleberries have 10 larger seeds (making them more difficult to eat).

The 'garden huckleberry' (Solanum melanocerasum) is not considered to be a true huckleberry but a member of the nightshade family.

The fruit of the various species of plant called huckleberry is generally edible. The berries are small and round, usually less than 5 mm in diameter, and contain 10 relatively large seeds. Berries range in color according to species from bright red, through dark purple, and into the blues. In taste the berries range from tart to sweet, with a flavor similar to that of a blueberry, especially in blue- and purple-colored varieties. Huckleberries are enjoyed by many mammals, including grizzly bears and humans.

In the Pacific Northwest of North America, the huckleberry plant can be found in mid-alpine regions, often on the lower slopes of mountains. The plant grows best in damp, acidic soil. Under optimal conditions, huckleberries can be as much as 1.5-2 m (about 5-6.5 feet) high, and usually ripen in mid-to-late summer, or later at higher elevations.

Huckleberries hold a place in archaic English slang. The tiny size of the berries led to their frequent use as a way of referring to something small, often in an affectionate way. The phrase "a huckleberry over my persimmon" was used to mean "a bit beyond my abilities". "I'm your huckleberry" is a way of saying that one is just the right person for a given job;[1] this saying was used by the character Doc Holliday in the movie Tombstone. The range of slang meanings of huckleberry in the 19th century was fairly large, also referring to insignificant persons or nice persons.[2][3]

People from the New Orleans metropolitan region bandy "huckleberry" about as a synonym for a foolish person or dupe, e.g. "Henry C did you screw up that task? What a huckleberry!"

The Huckleberry Railroad is a heritage train located in Flint, Michigan. It ran so slowly that it was said a person could jump off the train, pick huckleberries, and re-board the train as it traveled without difficulty.[4]

References


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

Huckleberry is a name used in North America for several plants in two closely related genera in the family Ericaceae: Gaylussacia and Vaccinium. The Huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho.

Some Vaccinium species, such as the Red Huckleberry, are always called huckleberries. Other species may be called blueberries or huckleberries in different locations.

There is much confusion in naming of berries in American English. The 'garden huckleberry' (Solanum melanocerasum) is not a true huckleberry but a member of the nightshade family.

The fruit of most species of huckleberry can be eaten. The berries are small and round. They are usually less than 5 mm in diameter and contain 10 seeds. Berries range in color from bright red, through dark purple, and into the blues. In taste the berries range from tart to sweet. They have a flavor similar to that of a blueberry. Huckleberries are well liked by many mammals such as bears and humans.








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