Blueberries are perennial flowering plants of the genus Vaccinium, and are native to North America. The genus is very diverse, containing 150 to 450 species, mostly found in the tropics at high elevation, but also in temperate and boreal regions. Most are shrubs, but again, a diverse range of growth forms from epiphytes to trees exists. The leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen, ovate to lanceolate. The flowers are bell-shaped; white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5-16 millimeters in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale green at first, then reddish purple, and finally dark blue when ripe. Three commercially important blueberry species are recognized, along with two interspecific hybrids: Northern Highbush blueberry, Rabbiteye blueberry, Lowbush blueberry, Southern highbush, and half- high highbush. The blueberry plant’s reproduction was designed specifically for pollination. The flowers of blueberries need to be pollinated by insects. There are special characteristics in a blueberry flower that make pollination easier. The flowers are fused, having only one end opened. The nectarines, which cause the blueberry to become pollinated, are at the base of the ovary and have a sweet-smelling aroma, attracting the insect far into the flower. Its stamens are shorter than normal, and the pollen is unable to fall on the stigma. The plant is designed to not self-pollinate.
Blueberries have many different uses. They are sold fresh or processed, puree, juice, or dried. They may be turned into a variety of consumer goods such as jellies, jams, pies, muffins, and cereal. Especially in wild species, blueberries contain phytochemicals, which possibly have a role in reducing risks of some diseases, including inflammation and certain cancers. A 2007 symposium on berry health benefits, reports showed consumption of blueberries may alleviate the cognitive decline occurring in Alzheimer’s disease and other...
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