Species at Risk

Deerberry

Vaccinium stamineum

Why protect Deerberry?

Deerberry is a part of a unique and healthy ecosystem and contributes to the overall biodiversity in Canada. In the Thousand Islands Ecosystem deerberry is found in association with other uncommon species in Canada such as pitch pine (Pinus rigida).

It is important to protect and recover deerberry populations to ensure that a healthy environment is available for future generations.

Close-up of deerberry flowers.
Pendant white flowers clusters appear in the early summer on long slender stalks.
© Parks Canada / SLINP Image Library

There are also genetic differences between deerberry found in Canada and deerberry found in more temperate areas in the United States. Being at the northern end of it’s range, and disjunct from other populations, deerberry in Canada has had to adapt to a colder climate and to more competition than in other populations This has resulted in Canadian deerberry populations that are unique and are of high conservation value.

Deerberry plays an important ecological role where it occurs. The fruit of deerberry plants provide a source of nutrition for numerous birds. The flowers of deerberry provide a source of nectar for various bees.

What is Parks Canada doing to save Deerberry?

There are five ways that Parks Canada is assisting in the recovery of deerberry populations in Canada: through seelding introduction, plant monitoring, protection, education and collaborating with other organizations on recovery.

  • A deerberry reintroduction program has been ongoing at St. Lawrence Islands National Park. Because deerberry plants in Canada have not been known to germinate from seed, park staff have partnered with universities to establish new deerberry seedlings in greenhaouse environments. These seedlings are then introduced to areas that have been shown to provide similar habitat.
  • St. Lawrence Islands National Park monitors existing plants that helps to assess plant health, and identify possible stressors. Monitoring is done annually.
  • St. Lawrence Islands National Park educates visitors and regional residents about the importance of deerberry and its function in the Thousand Islands Ecosystem. It is important for these audiences to be aware of deerberry so that impact can be minimized where it occurs.
  • St. Lawrence Islands National Park is represented on the Deerberry Recovery Team, a group consisting of government organizations and universities that develops and implements recovery plans and contributes status reports to COSEWIC.