The Blueberry Plant
Although the highbush blueberry plant is indigenous to North America, its value as a commercial fruit crop has been exploited only in the past 60 years or so. Original breeding work and research was conducted by Mrs. Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville, beginning shortly after the turn of the century.
The blueberry plant is a perennial, consisting of a shallow root system and woody canes that originate from the crown of the plant. The root system is very fibrous but devoid of root hairs. (Root hairs in most plants function by increasing the surface area of the root for water and nutrient uptake.) This characteristic makes the blueberry plant very sensitive to changing soil water conditions.
A mature cultivated blueberry usually has 15 to 18 canes. Its growth habit varies among varieties, with some bushes growing very upright and others having a more spreading growth habit. The fruit is borne on buds that are formed the previous growing season.