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Whortleberry Vaccinium pallidum

Previously known as:

  • Vaccinium vacillans
Phonetic Spelling
vak-SIN-ee-um va-SIL-ans
Description

Lowbush Blueberry is a native deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family and can be found in dry woodlands, forests on slopes, clearings, and thickets. It grows to 2-3 feet tall and wide with a rounded form. It is a low maintenance and drought tolerant plant that has beautiful red to orange fall color.  It spreads through underground runners and can form clumps. This is a high-value wildlife plant as the berries are eaten by many and the shrub is a host plant. 

The shrub easily hybridizes with other blueberry plants so the leaves, flowers and fruit may vary in size and shape.

Lowbush Blueberry can be used as an ornamental shrub in the native garden or naturalized area. It is adaptable to soil types as long as they are well-drained and acidic and does best in full sun but tolerates shade.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: This plant will not survive in alkaline soils.

 

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:
#black#deciduous#fall color#blue#wildlife plant#native shrub#low maintenance#fall interest#berries#hedges#small mammals#low water use#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#edible fruits#naturalizes#pollinator plant#edible garden#food source summer#food source herbage#food source pollen#fruits#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#black#deciduous#fall color#blue#wildlife plant#native shrub#low maintenance#fall interest#berries#hedges#small mammals#low water use#food source#low flammability#NC native#fire resistant#edible fruits#naturalizes#pollinator plant#edible garden#food source summer#food source herbage#food source pollen#fruits#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#butterfly friendly#butterfly larvae#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Vaccinium
    Species:
    pallidum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central North America
    Distribution:
    : AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: ON
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Brown Elfin butterfly. Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, small mammals, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys and black bear. 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.
    Edibility:
    The fruit of the Lowbush blueberry can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor is sweet to bland.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • 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:
    1/4 inch edible blue-black berry matures in mid-summer (June-July). The fruit is edible and sweet to the taste. Females cannot produce fruit on their own.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Urn
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1/3 inch white bell-shaped flowers that form in tight hanging clusters occur late spring (March-April)
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    1- 2.25-inch oval to ovate leaves are .5 to 1 inch across and medium to yellow-green. The undersides are pale green, sometimes glaucous, and may have hairs. Margins are entire but may have some serration near the apex. Fall color is oranges to reds.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Green
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and green to green-red.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are glabrous and yellowish-green with small warty dots. Older branches become woody and vary in color from red to yellowish-brown;
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Fire