Information on Bilberry

Common Name: Bilberry
Scientific Name: Vaccinium myrtillus
Irish Name: Fraochán
Family Group: Ericaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Bilberry is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

Low-growing deciduous undershrub, this hairless plant is found mostly on acid heathland and damp mountainsides.  Growing to not more than 60cm high, it bears solitary, drooping pale green-pink globular flowers (4-6mm long) which have 5 rolled-back lobes and are on angled stems.  They bloom from April to July. The pale green leaves are oval with finely-toothed margins and short stalks.  The plant bears fleshy purple-black berries (5-10mm across) with a blue bloom on them in autumn.  This is a native plant which belongs to the Ericaceae family

My earliest record of this plant is on Djouce mountain, Co Wicklow in 1977 and I photographed it at Bookie's Bridge, Co Wicklow in 2007. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Better known in Ireland as Frochan, this plant is also known elsewhere as Whortleberry, Blaeberry, Huckleberry and Whinberry.  The fruits are rich in vitamin C and I find them very bitter to eat straight off the bush.  However if you pick enough and lash on the sugar, they are gorgeous in a tarts, muffins or crumbles.  This plant was also the source of a purple dye for fabrics