Vaccinium corymbosum L.
Ericaceae (Heath Family)
Synonym(s): Cyanococcus corymbosus, Cyanococcus cuthbertii, Vaccinium constablaei, Vaccinium corymbosum var. albiflorum, Vaccinium corymbosum var. glabrum
USDA Symbol: vaco
This blueberry species is a 6-12 ft. high and wide, deciduous shrub with numerous upright stems and twiggy branches forming a rounded, compact outline. Reddish-green spring leaves turn blue-green in summer and red, yellow, orange and purple in fall. White or pink, bell-shaped flowers in drooping clusters are followed by edible, blue fruit. A multi-stemmed shrub with green, or often red, twigs and terminal clusters of small, urn-shaped white flowers.
Our cultivated blueberries have been derived from the tall-growing shrub. It is often found in wet areas, but closely related growths occur in dry sites. These plants are very important to wildlife: their berries are relished by songbirds, game birds, bear, and small mammals; the twigs and foliage are eaten by deer and rabbits. Because of their food value and spectacular red fall foliage, these shrubs are excellent for naturalized landscaping.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Black, Blue
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. to s. WI, s. to GA & AL
Native Habitat: Swamps; bogs; dry barrens; oak woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Wet to dry, acid, rocky soils to organic peats.
Conditions Comments: Extremely susceptible to chlorosis due to alkalinity. Benefits from mulch. Prune after fruiting.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Berries are relished by most birds and mammals. Browsers eat foliage. Attracts 30 species of birds including: American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern and Spotted Towhees, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Cardinal (Audubon at Home).
Use Food: Fruit edible.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Most commonly propagated by softwood cuttings taken in spring. Vaccinium will also root from hardwood cuttings of unbranched shoots of previous season. Seeds may need to be stratified and should be sown on a slightly acid soil mix.
Seed Treatment: Seeds are varyingly reported to need no special treatment or to need stratifaction for 60-90 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer
Edible Plants for a Virginia Rain Garden
October 21, 2009
Can you recommend edible plants that would be appropriate for use in a rain garden? I'm located in Charlottesville, VA, but this can be in general as well.
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Longwood Gardens - Newark, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Vaccinium corymbosum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium corymbosum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium corymbosum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-07
Research By: TWC Staff