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Sapphireberry Symplocos paniculata

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
sim-PLOH-kos pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh
Description

Saphireberry is a deciduous large rounded shrub or low-branching small tree in the Symplocaceae family native to Asia.    This multistemmed plant grows slowly to 10 to 20 feet tall and wide becoming wide-spreading and twiggy with age.   The genus name Symplocos is Greek for combination and is in reference to the fused stamens, and the species name paniculata refers to the inflorescence being a panicle.  

It can grow in a variety of conditions, however, for the best results, grow in a sunny location with moist acidic soil.  Plant two or more trees together for cross-pollination and to promote production of the showy blue fruits which are enjoyed by birds.  This deciduous shrub can retain its leaves in the winter, however, they will be withered. Prune in the late winter being careful not to remove too many flower buds as this plant flowers on second year wood.

Plant in small groups, at the back of a shrub border, or use the multistemmed habit as an effective screen.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No significant problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#deciduous shrub#rabbit resistant#flowering tree#showy fruits#wind tolerant#blue fruits#screening#flowers late spring#flowers early summer#humidity tolerant#small group plantings#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#red dye plant#yellow dye plant#shrub borders#broadleaf#showy
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#heat tolerant#deciduous shrub#rabbit resistant#flowering tree#showy fruits#wind tolerant#blue fruits#screening#flowers late spring#flowers early summer#humidity tolerant#small group plantings#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#red dye plant#yellow dye plant#shrub borders#broadleaf#showy
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Symplocos
    Species:
    paniculata
    Family:
    Symplocaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Red and yellow dye can be made from the leaves and bark.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia-Tropical, Japan and China Southeast
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the berries.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Buffer
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The fruits are used in jams and jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • 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:
    Turquoise blue round drupes 1/3" long
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Creamy-white flowers form on 2-3" panicles on previous year's growth.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green, 1.5-3.5" leaves. The upper leaf is bright green with veins. The underside is slightly pubescent. No fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    A mature plant will have ridged or plated bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Can be trained as a multi stemmed shrub or as a small tree.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Patio
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Insect Pests
    Rabbits
    Wind