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Blueberries
Date Issued: 1999-04-10
Postage Value: 33 cents

Commemorative issue
Berries
Blueberries

The blueberry is a native American species, one of the few fruits native to North America. For centuries, blueberries were gathered from the forests and the bogs by Native Americans and consumed fresh. The northeast Native American tribes revered blueberries and much folklore developed around them. The blossom end of each berry, the calyx, forms the shape of a perfect five-pointed star; the elders of the tribe would tell of how the Great Spirit sent "star berries" to relieve the children's hunger during a famine. Parts of the blueberry plant also were used as medicine. A tea made from the leaves of the plant was thought to be good for the blood. Blueberry juice was used to treat coughs. The juice also made an excellent dye for baskets and cloth. In food preparation, dried blueberries were added to stews, soups, and meats. Blueberries also were used for medicinal purposes.



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