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Vaccinium facts for kids

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Quick facts for kids
Vaccinium berries, from top left clockwise:
Red huckleberry, cranberry, lingonberry and blueberry
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Vaccinioideae
Tribe: Vaccinieae
Genus: ''Vaccinium''
Vaccinium angustifolium 1 (5098086474)
Blueberry flowers

Vaccinium is a genus of flowering plants. All of them are shrubs in the family Ericaceae. The fruits of Vaccinium species include blueberries, cranberries, huckleberries, and Bilberry.

In total, there are about 450 species, mostly in the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. There are a few tropical species which grow in places like Madagascar or Hawaii. The plants usually grow in heathlands or in forests. Like most plants of the Ericaceae, many species grow in acidic soils.

The larvae of a number of lepidoptera species (moths and butterflies are examples of lepidoptera) grow on these plants.

Modern research

The taxonomy of the genus is complex, and is being investigated. Genetic analysis shows that the genus Vaccinium is not monophyletic. Vaccinium's taxonomy can be fixed by enlarging the genus to include a number of related genera. Alternatively, the genus could be broken up into several different genera.

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