Herb: Bog Bilberry

Latin name: Vaccinium uliginosum

Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Medicinal use of Bog Bilberry:

Antiseptic, astringent, carminative, hypnotic and hypoglycaemic. An infusion of the leaves and sugar have been given to a mother a few days after childbirth in order to help her regain her strength.

Description of the plant:


75 cm
(2 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Bogs and moist copses in mountains and moorlands of northern Britain.

Edible parts of Bog Bilberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Juicy and sweet. The fruit can also be dried and used like raisins. A reasonable source of vitamin C. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. A tea is made from the leaves and dried fruits.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame. Slow and difficult. Layering in late summer or early autumn. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer. Takes 18 months. Division of suckers in spring or early autumn.

Cultivation of Bog Bilberry:

Bogs and moist copses in mountains and moorlands of northern Britain.

Known hazards of Vaccinium uliginosum:

The fruit can cause headaches if they are eaten in large quantities. This is probably the result of infestation by a fungus.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.