Though naturalized across Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest, this deciduous shrub and significant food crop is native to the eastern US and Canada. It typically grows between 3 – 12 feet tall and wide, found in dense thickets as well as open woodlands with its dark and glossy leaves. In the late spring, it blooms long, bell-shaped white flowers and in the fall, its leaves become shades of warm red, orange, yellow, and violet.
Along with being the most prevalent commercially produced blueberry in North America, highbush blueberry hosts the Frosted Elfin butterfly, provides its berries for numerous birds and other wildlife, and serves as an important pollinator. Prior to the colonization of North America, blueberries were eaten fresh, cooked, and dried by Indigenous peoples along the Eastern regions of the continent. They also used the berries and other parts of the plants for medicinal purposes. Modern blueberry cultivars are a direct result of knowledge shared by many Natives about the berries and their natural occurrences.