Bilberry and blueberry may look alike, but there are important differences you might not know.
Most of us are familiar with blueberry (a hybrid of Vaccinium spp., mostly V. corymbosum), which is widely cultivated in North America.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L), on the other hand, is a wild species, native to forests of northern Europe. Bilberry is also know as wild blueberry in Europe. It is almost impossible to cultivate bilberry. 
Colour and taste
Although both bilberry and blueberry have similar outer appearance (both are blue/purple), once the inner flesh is revealed, you’ll see a stark difference.
Bilberry has a much higher content of anthocyanins, hence its flesh is red, as opposed to the green flesh blueberry.
It has a stronger taste than blueberry, due to the higher anthocyanin content It’s tangy, fruity and mildly sweet.
We all know that blueberry is a good source of antioxidants. Well, bilberry has 4x more antioxidant level than blueberry.
This is due to bilberry having much higher levels of the anthocyanins (cyanidin, delphinidin, and peonidin), while blueberry is only richer in one subtype of anthocyanin – malvidin.
Bilberry is the richest berry source of anthocyanin, supplying 300-700 mg per 100 g of berries
“Most attention has been focused on the antioxidant properties of anthocyanins in relation to health benefits of bilberry, the effects are likely to extend beyond simple antioxidant action to involve cell-signaling pathways, gene expression, DNA repair, and cell adhesion, as well as antineoplastic and antimicrobial effects. “
Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, Chapter 4 Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.). 2011.
Other nutritional values
Compared to blueberries, wild bilberries are more nutrient dense, with more Vitamin C, Vitamin E, manganese than blueberries.
How can I get hold of bilberry?
In Singapore and Southeast Asia region, we do not really get supplies of fresh and even frozen bilberries. The only way to consume bilberry is by taking the extract.
Medox® contains wild Scandinavian bilberries and NZ blackcurrants in 1:1 ratio, with clinically proven health benefits. You can get it online here.
It is suitable for anyone who wants antioxidant protection for their eyes, blood circulation, and support their overall immunity.
- 17 naturally occurring anthocyanins (antioxidants)
- 20 years . Thousands of satisfied customers
- Award winning, clinically proven, patented extraction technology
- Developed and manufactured in Norway
- Vegan . Gluten Free . Dairy Free
8 thoughts on “Bilberry vs. blueberry – what are the key differences?”
That’s right 🙂
My mum used to bake bilberry pies all the time when we were little and it they were a firm favourite with my daughters too. She used to buy them in jars. I don’t seem to able to get them at all now and I think they have more flavour than blueberries.
Thanks so much for sharing! Those bilberry pies must be delish and full of flavour! Wish we could taste it!
Heard some where in the past couple years that during WWI that Bristish Solders had better nigth vison . It was determined that it was because they ate Bilberry Jam . Since I have wet Macular Degeneration I decided to eat wild blue berries from Maine along with my supplement with Lutin. The wild berries seem to have more purple flesh and juice like bilberries that commercial blueberries in the US.
That’s an interesting story about WWI, thanks for sharing! We would love to visit Maine some time in future, so nice to have wild blueberries there.
As children in the west of Ireland, we loved picking wild bilberries which grew in boggy areas.
Although we cultivated blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries, I don’t recall anyone ever cultivating bilberries, possibly because they were available for free in the wild anyway.
Thanks for sharing Robert, sound so fun to be able to pick wild bilberries, and all the berries you’ve cultivated!