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Vaccinium myrsinites

Previously known as:

  • Cyanococcus myrsinites
  • Vaccinium nitidum
Description

Shiny Blueberry has white to pink flowers and is native to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.  In it natural habitat it can be found growing in mixed forests, areas of sand pine scrub and subtropical pine forests, which include prairies or barrens and at the edges of shrub-tree bogs or bays.  

Previously called Ground Blueberry, the common name was changed in 2018.  

An important source of food for wildlife.  Black bear, raccoon, white-footed mouse, red fox, gray fox, skunks, deer, chipmunks, deer mice, and squirrels seek out the berries as a source of food.  Many species of birds also consume the fruits.  Among these are the ring-necked pheasant, gray catbird, thrushes, thrashers, and bluebirds.  It is a major source of food in the spring and summer for the northern bobwhite.  In addition to wildlife, human consumption of the fruit is common, both raw and cooked.

Solitary plants rarely produce fruit.  Placing multiple, unrelated plants together will result in fruit production.

Spreading by rhizomes, this plant can colonize, covering large areas.  It also forms runners that can spread along the ground when surrounding vegetation is absent, such as from fire or other methods.  In some locations, Shiny Blueberry is a prominent understory shrub.  Often, fire is used as a means of eliminating other vegetation in order for this plant to flourish.  Following such an occurrence, future fruiting will be greatly increased.  The foliage can be consumed by fire, however, the underground stolons will survive and sprout.  Birds and some mammals can also transport some seed to burned areas.

When growing from seed, ideal conditions include placing the seedlings in a greenhouse in some light shade.  These conditions should exist through the plants first winter.  Plant outdoors in a permanent locations after the last frost, late spring, into early summer.  Lime free soil is required.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Can become invasive.

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:
#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#drought tolerant#low growing#wildlife plant#small shrub#native shrub#edible fruits#evergreen shrub#poor soils tolerant#native#dry soils tolerant#compact#wildlife#native edible#salt water intolerant#salt spray intolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#showy flowers#fall color#drought tolerant#low growing#wildlife plant#small shrub#native shrub#edible fruits#evergreen shrub#poor soils tolerant#native#dry soils tolerant#compact#wildlife#native edible#salt water intolerant#salt spray intolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    myrsinites
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Numerous mammals in the wild feed on the berries. Pollinators are attracted to the flowers.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The fruits are edible.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Round blue to black fruit containing numerous seeds or nutlets. Ripening occurs in late spring into summer. The fruits are round, and a bluish-gray when ripe.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Urn
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The fused-petaled flowers bloom in clusters of 2 to 8. The white flowers are enclosed by pink calyxes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The green-gray leaves range from pubescent to glabrous. The undersides are typically glandular. The upper side of the leaves is glossy. The underside have microscopic red glands. New leaves are typically half the size of mature leaves. The margins of new leaves can be pink tinged.
  • Bark:
    Bark Description:
    New bark is green, round and slightly pubescent. As it ages, it becomes more woody.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The many branched stems can range from glabrous to densely pubescent. New growth is green, becoming woody as it ages.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Barrier
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Heat
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Short-lived