Plant DetailShow Menu

Japanese Blueberry Tree Elaeocarpus decipiens

Previously known as:

  • Adenodus sylvestris
Phonetic Spelling
el-lee-oh-KAR-pus de-SIP-ee-enz
Description

Japanese blueberry tree is a broad-leaved evergreen large shrub or tree in the Elaeocarpaceae family native to temperate East Asia.  It is typically found in evergreen forests from 1,300 to nearly 8,000 feet in elevation through much of China and in Vietnam growing to 20 to 35 feet in height with an equal spread, but becoming larger with time (mature trees in nature are known to be 60 feet).  The genus Elaeocarpus is derived from the Greek words 'elaia' meaning olive and 'karpos' meaning "fruit" knodding to the olive shaped blue fruits. The specific epithet decipiens is from the Greek 'decipio' meaning "to take" or "catch"  though the meaning behind this name is not clear.

Plant in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil and water regularly until well established. It does best with fairly regular irrigation. It is cold hardy into USDA Zone 8 where winters do not go below 10 or 15 degrees F, such as the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.  The leaves emerge with an attractive bronze coloring later turning dark shiny green.  Attractive fragrant foliage lures nectaring pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Japanese blueberry tree is adaptable to many climates and relatively pest free, though deer do like to browse the foliage.  As a larger shrub it can be used for hedging and large scale privacy screen and windbreaks. It is attractive year-round, although some complain of the fruit and leaf litter dropped on walkways, patios, and other hardscape surfaces.

Insect Pests, Disease, and Other Plant Problems:  Argentine ants are an insect pest.  Fruit and leaf litter can be a problem.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#white flowers#pink flowers#large tree#year-round interest#messy#deer browsing plant#bronze leaves#glossy leaves#blue fruits#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#flowers early summer#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#fragrant flowers#white flowers#pink flowers#large tree#year-round interest#messy#deer browsing plant#bronze leaves#glossy leaves#blue fruits#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#evergreen tree#flowers early summer#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Elaeocarpus
    Species:
    decipiens
    Family:
    Elaeocarpaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern China to Vietnam
    Distribution:
    Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees and butterflies are attracted to flower nectar. Deer browse the foliage.
    Edibility:
    Fruit is ornamental, not edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers are followed in the fall by the small oblong bluish purple colored fruits that give this plant its common name.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    White to cream or pale pink fringed fragrant flowers are hidden under the canopy and point downward. Bloom is in the late spring to early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    New leaves are bronze turning light to dark glossy green and they turn red as they age. In spring, flushes of bronze growth mature to shiny dark green elliptical leaves. Previous year's leaves turn orange and linger for several months prior to dropping and littering the ground.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Smooth
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Problems:
    Messy