Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue– or purple–colored berries. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries and Madeira blueberries. Commercial “blueberries” – including both wild (‘lowbush’) and cultivated (‘highbush’) blueberries – are all native to North America. The highbush blueberry varieties were introduced into Europe during the 1930s.
Blueberries are usually prostrate shrubs that can vary in size from 10 centimeters (3.9 in) to 4 meters (13 ft) in height. In commercial production of blueberries, the species with small, pea–size berries growing on low–level bushes are known as “lowbush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), while the species with larger berries growing on taller cultivated bushes are known as “highbush blueberries”.