Posted on March 21st, 2012 by Ecoyards
Hands down, one of our favorite Northwest native plant is the evergreen huckleberry. Vaccinium ovatum is an edible plant unique to the Northwest, and also a Great Plant Pick for Seattle landscapes. It has beautiful foliage (leaves with a tinge of deep waxy green and red when mature) and purple-black berries in the fall. This plant is a must in any Seattle garden because it tolerates a wide range of light levels, from full sun to shady woodland environments, and provides year-round interest. Evergreen huckleberry is fairly disease-resistant and drought-tolerant; once established, it require little pruning or water (though a bit of water during dry weather can help flowering and fruit production).
The erect shrubs can grow tall; some of our clients on Mercer Island have older, bushy shrubs that are about 6-feet tall. The berries ripen during the late summer to fall; they’re slightly tart, about one-third the size of a typical blueberry and make great jams or jellies. My son is crazy about them and loves to eat them right off the plant, his fingers and lips stained red-purple by the juices. Add huckleberries to muffins or pancakes; they’re also easy to freeze. One of our clients, Lisa in Ballard, makes a killer huckleberry pie, filled with berries she picks from her garden.