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Blueberries are any of the species of fruit bearing [[shrubs] belonging to the taxonomic genus Vaccinium. They are one of the native North American plants and best known for their delicious, healthy berries, whch contain antioxidants.
Blueberries are unique in their anatomy. The plant that the blueberry grows from starts out as a woody plant, and as it grows, creates green canes that have thick, water-storing leaves or stems. The leaves start at the base and grow to the top of the plant. With the different types of blueberry plants, there are also different sizes. The lowbush blueberry plant, usually being less than three feet tall, is a small type of blueberry bush, while highbush blueberry plants can be anywhere from four to ten feet tall. The rabbiteye blueberry plants can grow up to twenty feet tall.
A blueberry’s root system varies in each species. Both highbush and lowbush blueberries have fibrous roots that don’t have root hairs. Highbush blueberry plants have endotrophic mvcorhizza, which assist the roots in absorbing water and nutrients, while lowbush blueberry plants have rhizomes instead of roots, allowing them to grow more in the area they cover, rather than height. Highbush roots can spread in an area of around six feet from the original base of the plant, yet don’t usually go farther down than three feet. The roots are very thin, with the finest ones only able to become twenty µm in their diameter. 
The fruit buds for a blueberry start to develop around the end of the summer and going into fall. They develop basipetally, developing towards the base from the tip of the freshly made shoot. The shoot diameter plays a role in the number of flower buds and the fruit size. The bigger the shoot diameter is, the larger the fruit will be. The number of flower buds also depends on the climate where the blueberry plant grows. Fruit size is affected by the number of seeds: the more there are the bigger the fruit can be. The flower growing within the bud grows differently than the fruit buds. It grows from the base to the tip, which is opposite to than the fruit buds.
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. Unlike many other kinds of pollen, the blueberry’s pollen was created to be heavy and sticky, so that it is unable to be blown by the wind. 
The plants reproduce by seed and by rhizomes when they need to protect themselves in harsh conditions. Their flowers are important in attracting pollinating insects: too few flowers might not get the plant noticed, and with less than thirty flowers, the plant rarely makes blueberries. With over four thousand flowers the plants would turn out to be very productive. It takes a while for the first flowers on a blueberry plant to appear, around when the plant is four years old. Wild bees are the most common pollinators of blueberry plants. Deer mice, chipmunks, red black voles, robins and black bears are important in scattering the seeds. The fruit that is produced is largely dependent on the environment and many different factors at that exact time. The plant grows best in cool and acidic dirt. The blueberry plant seed germinates best with light. When at seventy degrees Fahrenheit with light for sixteen out of every twenty-four hours the seed germinates quickly. The maximum amount of time for the seed to start and finish germinating is twelve weeks, with the minimum amount being nine weeks. 
Any species of blueberry grows best in direct sunlight. They will grow fine in some shade, but the more shade there is, the worse the plants grow. The dirt that the plants are grown in plays an important role in how the plants turn out. They have rather shallow roots, and with other plants or competitors nearby, they don’t get the nutrients they need to grow properly. When the dirt is loose, somewhat like sand, the blueberries will be able to grow better, compared to harder, thicker dirt. A pH of four to five in the dirt is the perfect acidity for blueberries to grow their best. It’s best when they grow in springtime weather, without any chance of winter frost or weather, to make sure that the blueberry plants survive. 
There are many locations where blueberries can grow, including conifer or hardwood forests, headlands, upland bogs, high moors, by sandy riverbanks, and peaty barrens. Their tolerance of temperature and rainfall makes it easy for blueberry plants to grow in a wide variety of locations, including most places in North America.
Blueberry plants are excellent at growing after fires, using rhizomes to grow when other plants are gone or hurt from the fire. Since fire removes plants, the plant that may have been keeping all the nutrients for itself could be gone, and that’s a major part in how blueberries are able to start growing again because there is not any other competition. When there is a fire in a forest, it creates small areas where blueberries are able to grow enthusiastically; because they are able to have an area to themselves with lots of sunlight. 
Blueberries are part of a healthy diet. They contain antioxidants, which is one of the healthy benefits of a blueberry. Compared to other fruits, blueberries are known to have one of the highest amount of antioxidants . Blueberries include many vitamins, like vitamins a, c, e, beta-carotene, and many minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium. Fiber, an important part of a diet, is one of the main parts of a blueberry. Saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, three things that are included too much in diets, are in very low amounts in blueberries.
Anthocyannins, Chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, catechins, resveratol, and pterostilbene are ingredients in blueberries that make them extra healthy. All of them are antioxidants. Anthocyanins cause the blue shade of blueberries and decrease heart disease and cancer. The antioxidant Chlorogenic acid is thought to slow the release of glucose into one’s blood after eating which would help fight hurtful free radicals. Ellagic acid is thought to damage cancer causing chemicals and is mostly located in leaves. Resveratrol has many positive effects on peoples health. The only negative part of a blueberry is oxalates, which slows calcium absorption. When eaten in large amounts, it can cause problems, which shows it’s never good to eat too much of anything.
- Blueberry Root Anatomy Luis Valehzuela. http://www.personal.psu.edu. Viewed on 4/11/09.
- Blueberry Purdue University Horticulture & Landscape Architecture. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/default.shtml. Viewed on 4/11/09.
- Late low blueberry Rook, Earl J.S. http://www.rook.org. last updated August 9, 1999. Viewed 4/13/09.
- USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 13 April 2009). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
- Growing Blueberries By Linda Jenkinson. http://www.whatprice.co.uk. last updated April 10, 2008. Viewed 4/15/09.
- Blueberries: Nutrition, Facts, Growth, History By In Mamas Kitchen. Inc. http://www.inmamaskitchen.com. Viewed 4/17/09.
- Blueberries for Health By U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. http://www.blueberry.org/. copyright 2002. Viewed 4/17/09.