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Do Blueberry Bushes Have Thorns? Expert Guide For All

Many new gardeners fear that their blueberry bushes have thorns, requiring gloves to handle them.

The blueberry bushes do not have thorns, nor do they produce prickly spikes around their fruits to keep predators away, so you need not worry about hurting yourself.

However, it does expose them to small animals and birds who will happily feed on them.

Read on to identify thornless blueberries and ways to protect them from potential predators.

Debunking the Thorn Myth

Blueberry is a fruit-bearing plant known for its delicious and nutritious berries that return annually between June and August.

Some new gardeners mistake other fruit-bearing bushes with thorns like brambles for blueberry (blackberry and raspberry). In the wild, these bushes tend to grow near blueberry, leading to the belief that blueberry has thorns.

On the other hand, blueberry bushes have small, woody stems, which can sometimes appear slightly rough but are not true thorns.

blueberries have thorn
Blueberries are relatively easy to harvest, so you need not worry about getting pricked.

However, some wild blueberry varieties can have small thorns, but cultivated varieties never have one.

Here is how to identify a cultivated blueberry variety from its thorny counterparts.

Size4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) in height
LeavesOval-shaped, dark green, turning red/purple in the fall
StemsSmooth, typically without thorns or prickles
BerriesSmall, blue to dark blue, clusters
FlowersWhite or pink bell-shaped flowers
HabitUpright, bushy growth habit
SeasonalityFoliage drops in the fall; dormant in winter

Thorny Blueberry Variety

As previously mentioned, some wild blueberry lookalikes can produce thorns and edible berries.

Gum Bumelia (Sideroxylon lanuginosum) is a low-growing wild shrub growing around the Sun Belt and Midwest US, including Mexico.

It produces purplish-black berries, oval in shape, similar to cultivated blueberry.

blueberry bushes have thorns
Unlike blueberries, you should not overeat bumelia berries as they can cause stomach aches and dizziness.

Alternatively, you can grow gum bumelia to invite pollinators like honey bees, which will frequent bumelia flowers in spring.

How to Protect Blueberry Bushes?

Being thornless means blueberry bushes become attractive to predators like deer, rabbits, and birds.

Therefore, consider significantly protecting your blueberry bushes from animals when growing them outdoors.

Here are a few proven ways to protect your favorite plant.

  • Use Netting: Cover your blueberry bushes with mesh bird netting to protect against birds and small animals.
  • Deter Larger Animals: Installing fencing or barriers around the garden will help deter larger animals like deer or rabbits.
  • Bird Scare Devices: Use reflective tape, scarecrows, wind chimes, or motion-activated devices to keep birds from approaching your blueberry bushes.
  • Decoy Predators: Adding decoys like owl or hawk statues near your blueberry bushes may give the impression of a threat to small animals.
  • Use Repellent Spray: Spray ready-to-use deer repellent around your garden to keep deer from wandering around.
  • Regular Harvesting: Harvest berries regularly to prevent over-ripening, which can attract unwanted garden pests.

From Editorial Team


Check signs of common blueberry diseases, such as powdery mildew and mummy berries, to save them from damage.

Also, provide full sun with slightly acidic soil to ensure your blueberry bushes produce more fruiting.

With proper care and love, these “mother of berries” will treat you with nutritious fruits for up to 20 years.