Vaccinium reticulatum

Common Name:


Vaccinium reticulatum

Also called 'Ohelo 'ai, Hawaiian Huckleberry, Hawaiian Blueberry, Hawaiian Cranberry.

Vaccinium reticulatum, or Ohelo as it's commonly known, is a small (usually less than 3' tall) endemic shrub. Ohelo occurs naturally mostly between 2,000' and 10,000' elevation on Mauna Kea. A pioneer species, Ohelo is well adapted to the volcanic environment in Hawaii, and is often seen growing on recent lava flows and cinder beds.

The oval shaped leaves are tough and leathery and range in size from 3/8" to 1 ¼". The single flowers grow out of the bases of the leaves. The flowers are red, yellow, yellow with red stripes, or greenish yellow. They are about ¼" long, tubular, and have 5 petals and 10 stamens. Flowering occurs throughout the year, but is most abundant from April to September.

Ohelo berries, usually about ¼" in diameter and red, orange or yellow in color, are edible, and are often made into jam. They are also a major food source for Hawaii's native goose, the Nene.

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