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Vaccinium myrtillus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ericaceae (Heath)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
75 centimetres tall
Bogs, fens, fields, grassland, heathland, moorland, mountains, scrub, wetland, woodland.

Pink, 5 petals
One or two reddish-pink bell-shaped flowers on short stalks at leaf bases.
Small, round, dark blue, flat-topped berries. No larger than 1cm in diameter.
Small, light green and short-stalked oval to elliptical leaves with netted veins. Leaf margins are finely serrated.
Other Names:
Blaeberry, Bog Bilberry, European Blueberry, Fraughan, Huckleberry, Myrtle Berry, Myrtle Blueberry, Shinberry, Whimberry, Whinberry, Whortleberry, Wimberry, Winberry, Windberry.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Vaccinium myrtillus, also known as bilberry or European blueberry, is a small shrub native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It is a member of the heath family and is closely related to the blueberry. Bilberry is characterized by its small, dark blue berries and small, dark green leaves. It is a popular fruit in many parts of the world and is often used to make jams, jellies, and other preserves, as well as baked goods such as pies and muffins. Bilberry is also believed to have a number of health benefits and is sometimes used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including diabetes, eye disorders, and inflammation. In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, bilberry is also grown as an ornamental plant due to its attractive flowers and fruit.


Bilberry, also known as Vaccinium myrtillus, is a small, blue-black fruit that is found in the wild throughout Northern Europe, Asia, and North America. This fruit has been used for centuries for its numerous health benefits and is now becoming increasingly popular in the world of nutrition and wellness.

Health Benefits:

  1. Antioxidant Properties: Bilberries are rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the body against damage from free radicals and oxidative stress.
  2. Vision Support: Bilberries have been shown to support eye health and improve visual acuity. This is believed to be due to the high levels of anthocyanins found in the fruit.
  3. Cardiovascular Health: Bilberries have been shown to have a positive effect on heart health, helping to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
  4. Gut Health: Bilberries contain fiber, which helps to promote a healthy gut microbiome, and also help to support healthy digestion.

How to Use Bilberries:

  1. Fresh or Frozen: Bilberries can be eaten fresh or frozen, and can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  2. Supplements: Bilberry supplements are available in the form of capsules, powders, and teas.
  3. Jam or Syrup: Bilberries can also be used to make jam or syrup, which can be used as a natural sweetener or added to recipes.

Conclusion: Bilberries are a nutritious and delicious fruit that can offer numerous health benefits. Whether you choose to eat them fresh, in a supplement, or as a jam or syrup, incorporating bilberries into your diet is an easy way to support your overall health and wellness.

In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, bilberries have also been used for various medicinal purposes throughout history. For example, the leaves of the bilberry plant were used as a remedy for diarrhea and the fruit was used as a remedy for urinary tract infections.

Bilberries are also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, making them a good option for people who suffer from conditions such as arthritis or gout. The high levels of antioxidants in bilberries may also help to protect the skin from damage caused by exposure to UV radiation.

One important thing to note is that while bilberries can offer many health benefits, it is important to consume them in moderation. Like most fruits, bilberries are high in natural sugars, so it is important to limit your consumption to avoid consuming too much sugar.

Bilberries are a versatile fruit that can be easily incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways. They can be eaten raw, baked into pies and pastries, or used as a natural sweetener in recipes. Bilberry juice is also a popular drink, as it is high in antioxidants and has a rich, slightly tart flavor.

Bilberries are also commonly used in cosmetic products, such as creams, masks, and serums. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of bilberries make them an excellent ingredient for promoting healthy, radiant skin.

In addition to their health and beauty benefits, bilberries are also environmentally friendly. They are a wild-growing plant, and harvesting them does not require the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

If you are interested in incorporating bilberries into your diet, you can find them fresh in many health food stores, or in frozen form in many grocery stores. Bilberry supplements and juice are also readily available, and can be found in most health food stores or online.

Overall, bilberries are a valuable and nutrient-dense fruit that should not be overlooked. Whether you consume them for their health benefits or use them in cosmetic products, bilberries are a versatile and beneficial addition to any diet or beauty routine.

It's worth mentioning that bilberries have also been shown to have potential benefits for brain function. Studies have found that bilberries can improve cognitive performance, memory, and learning ability. This is thought to be due to the high levels of anthocyanins and antioxidants in the fruit, which help to protect the brain from oxidative stress and damage.

For athletes and individuals who engage in regular physical activity, bilberries can also offer benefits. The fruit has been shown to help reduce muscle damage and soreness, and to enhance endurance and athletic performance.

In terms of dosage, it is recommended to consume about 80-160 grams of fresh bilberries per day, or to take a daily supplement containing 160-500 mg of bilberry extract. However, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Finally, it's important to note that while bilberries are generally considered safe for most people, there are some individuals who may experience side effects. For example, people who are allergic to other types of berries may also be allergic to bilberries. Additionally, bilberries can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, so it's always best to speak with a doctor before consuming bilberries if you are taking any medications.

In conclusion, bilberries are a valuable and nutrient-dense fruit that offer numerous health benefits. From improving vision and heart health, to boosting brain function and athletic performance, bilberries are a versatile and beneficial addition to any diet or wellness routine.


Bilberry filmed on Winter Hill, Lancashire on the 27th August 2022.


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