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Vaccinium ovatum

Vaccinium ovatum Pursh

California Huckleberry, Evergreen Blueberry, Evergreen Huckleberry

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Vaccinium ovatum var. saporosum

USDA Symbol: vaov2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Evergreen Blueberry is an elegant, much-branched, evergreen shrub, 2-8 ft. tall, with a neat habit and attractive leaves. The leathery leaves are oval and shiny above, paler beneath. Axillary racemes of pink, bell-shaped flowers are followed by dark, edible berries. New growth in the spring is coppery red.

Birds and mammals eat the berries, which resemble blueberries.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 8 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Black, Purple

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


Canada: BC
Native Distribution: W. of the Cascades from s.w. B.C. to n. CA & sporadic southward
Native Habitat: Dry, shaded slopes; moister, woodland edges

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Poor, acid, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Slow-growing. May become spindly with extremes of moisture and shade.


Use Wildlife: Birds and mammals eat the berries.
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: 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: Stratify for 60-90 days at 41 degrees. No treatment may give good results.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: UPL FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Vaccinium ovatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vaccinium ovatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vaccinium ovatum


Record Modified: 2023-04-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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