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Vaccinium arboreum

Pronunciation: Vak-sin-ee-um ar-bor-ee-um
Family: Ericaceae (heath family)
Common Name: Sparkleberry, farkleberry, tree huckleberry
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • fruits, vegetables
Height to: 10-30'
Width to: 15'-30'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • late spring
  • late summer
Bloom Description: The white flowers are bell shaped with five lobes, about 1/3 in (0. 5 cm) long, and arranged in profuse drooping clusters. The berries are shiny black, about 1/4 in (0. 6 cm) in diameter. On the tip of each berry is a five-pointed star, the remains of the calyx. The berries often remain on the trees throughout winter. Grown in full sun, sparkleberry produces abundant masses of showy white flowers, then masses of equally attractive shiny black berries. The glossy foliage is pretty most of the year,
Soil Type: It can tolerate, and even thrive, on neutral to calcareous soils, and doesn't demand the highly acidic conditions that other blueberries require. Nevertheless, it thrives on acidic soils, too.
Plant Perks:
  • Fall Foliage
  • Drought Tolerant
Propagation: Sparkleberry can be propagated from cuttings, but this is said to be difficult. Seeds need light to germinate, and should be sown on the surface of the potting medium.
Native to: Sparkleberry occurs in dry woods, hammocks, along streamsides, on bluffs and in open forests, usually growing in the dappled shade of the subcanopy, from virginia to southern illinois, south to to east texas and south-central florida.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - indeed, for xeriscaping and "native plant" landscaping, sparkleberry is one of the most attractive woodland shrubs there is. Available from native plant nurseries, sparkleberry is most useful in the understory beneath large oaks or pines, in casual mixed borders, or in natural hedges. Sparkleberries are relished by all kinds of birds and wildlife. They can be eaten by people too, but they are bitter and not very good, and most references say they are inedible. (former arkansas governor, frank white, earned the nickname, "governor farkleberry", after lamenting that, growing up, his family was so poor they had to eat farkleberries. ) extracts from the roots, bark and leaves have been used to treat diarrhea.  
Located in: Trees, Shrubs
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