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Vaccinium formosum

Phonetic Spelling
vak-SIN-ee-um for-MOH-sum
Description

Swamp Highbush Blueberry is a deciduous shrub in the heath family.  It is native to the southeastern U.S.A. and is commercially important to the area.  

Its native habitat includes bogs, swamps (especially blackwater, or at least where away from strong alluvial influence), seepage, depression ponds (dolines), and other moist grounds.  It will not grow in locations that include lime in the soil.  Will grow in and prefers very acidic soils.  Best fruiting occurs when situated in full sun.  

This plant has the tendency to sucker, therefore can form small colonies.

When propagating from seed, it is best done in a protected setting, such as a greenhouse.  At this point, they prefer a lightly shaded location and should be kept in this environment at lease through their first winter.  After that time, they can be planted outside, in a location with protection from strong winds.

Sometimes confused with Vaccinium corymbosum, Vaccinium formosum can be distinguished by its stems and leaf surfaces which are pubescent with dingy hairs.  It also has darker fruits that do not have a glaucous coating.  It will have flowers that bloom earlier in the spring.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  None noted.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Vaccinium.

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Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#perennial#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly larvae#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#perennial#deciduous shrub#native shrub#NC native#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source summer#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains OBL#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly larvae#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    formosum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America, New Jersey to Florida and Alabama
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host plant for butterflies. Also attractive to bees and birds.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Fruits are edible fresh or cooked.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 13 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • 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:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Blueberries with glaucus bloom. Displays from June to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are longer than other high bush blueberries. Blooms from February to May.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves tend to be broader below the center.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Woody old growth is brown and exfoliating.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Description:
    Young stems are hairless and have green bark.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds