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Huckleberry Vaccinium arboreum

Previously known as:

  • Batodendron andrachniforme
  • Batodendron arboreum
  • Vaccinium arboreum var. glaucescens
Phonetic Spelling
vak-SIN-ee-um ar-BOR-ee-um
Description

Sparkleberry is a small, deciduous evergreen shrub or tree that may grow 10 to 20 feet tall. It can be found in rocky woodlands, sandy woodlands, and on cliffs. The leaves are alternate with a smooth or finely toothed margin. The bark is shredded and patchy with reds, browns, and grays present. In early summer, small, white, bell-shaped flowers mature. In the fall, this plant has excellent color. The tall shrub produces a black fruit that matures in the fall and is a good food source for wildlife.

Growing on racemes, the 1/4" flowers bloom for a short period, from late spring to early summer.  The bloom period extends for approximately 3 weeks.  Once the fertile flowers bloom, they are replaced by berries that will mature in the fall.  Each berry can contain up to 10 seeds which will reseed itself.  Wildlife eat the berries.

The upper surface of the leaves are medium green, glabrous and have a slight shine.  The underside is a pale green, glabrous to finely pubescent, the fine hairs occur along the central veins of the leaf.

Sparkleberry grows best in sun to partial shade and likes dry to moist sandy or rocky soil. It is drought and heat tolerant and a high-value wildlife plant.

The tallest of the genus blueberries, it is often referred to as huckleberry.

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  

   

 

More information on Vaccinium.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#deciduous#fall color#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#acidic soil#wildlife plant#native bees#cover plant#winter interest#small mammals#specialized bees#food source#highly beneficial coastal plants#fire#medium flammability#deer browsing plant#pollinator plant#black fruits#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#bird friendly#nectar plant late spring#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#fall color red#butterfly friendly#nectar plant early summer#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#pollinator garden#audubon#short lived blooms#brown elfin butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    arboreum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    SE North America
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MO , MS , NC , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides nectar for pollinators and supports Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus) larvae which have one flight and appear from May to July in the North and March to April in the South. Adult Brown Elfin butterflies feed on flower nectar. The fruit is eaten by songbirds, small mammals, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys and black bears. It provides winter cover.   Members of the genus Vaccinium support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Conandrena) bradleyi, Andrena (Andrena) carolina, Panurginus atramontensis, Habropoda laboriosa, Colletes productus, Colletes validus, and Osmia (Melanosmia) virga.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Screening
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • 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
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    It has gritty non-juicy berries that last into the winter. Fruits appear between September and October. Female plants cannot produce fruit on their own.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small white fragrant bell-shaped flowers form on racemes that occur singly or in clusters of 2-5 and are 2 inches long. Individual flowers are 1/4 inch long and wide. Blooms late spring to early summer (April-June).
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Has leathery, glossy dark green leaves, 1-3 inches long and half as wide. The lower leaf surface is pale green and glabrous to finely pubescent. The leaves show red to crimson fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Shredding
    Bark Description:
    Bark exfoliates and is composed of grays, rich browns, oranges, and reddish-browns.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Branches and older twigs are gray and relatively smooth. Young twigs are reddish-brown. This single trunked shrub or small tree typically has a trunk up to 6" across.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Naturalized Area
    Vertical Spaces
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat