(Gaylussacia baccata family Ericaceae)
Huckleberries are members of the Heather family, and made famous by Mark Twain’s character, Huckleberry Finn. The name is a corruption of hurtleberry, a version of whortleberry, applied to blueberries or bilberries. The two sorts of plants grow in the same regions and are used in the same way. However, the fruit of the huckleberry has a different structure and is not a true berry, but a drupe, which is a fruit with a hard pit. They are quite similar to blueberry, but have a tougher skin and a sharper flavour. Another variety of huckleberry is the tangleberry, which grows along the North American coast. They are purplish-blue and sweeter than huckleberries and also have a tang of the sea. The black huckleberry is the most popular; but a similar berry, the dangleberry G. frondosa), is just as juicy, with a rich spicy flavour. However, it is the seeds that make the fruits of both species less attractive than the blueberry; therefore, they are not commercially gathered or cultivated. Some blueberries are mistakenly called huckleberries, including the red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) of the northwest, the squaw huckleberry (V. stamineum) of the north, and the California huckleberry (V. ovatum).