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Vaccinium arboreum, Sparkleberry

Sparkleberry is a wonderful, under utilized and unfortunately, obscure small tree native to moist or dry woodlands of the southeastern United States. Shiny foliage is followed by showy, white flowers that hang like bells from the brownish twigs in the spring. Normally an understory tree in nature in both dry sandy or wet sites, the tree fills out and becomes more uniformly shaped and attractive in a full sun or partially shaded location. The canopy becomes vase-shaped, growing from several, slightly twisted trunks.

Sparkleberry is nicely suited for many landscapes because it grows in a variety of light and soil conditions including wet or dry. Locate it in a prominent spot in the shadow of a large shade tree or in the full sun. When not in flower for 50 weeks of the year, its delicate, shiny foliage softens the surrounding landscape. The small stature and twisted trunks make it nicely suited for planting near a residential deck or patio. Urban foresters like the tree because it will not grow into power lines.

A well-drained soil is best for this native, although inundation for several weeks will usually not kill the tree. Growth is poor and chlorosis appears in soil with a pH above 7.

Sparkleberry Photos

Sparkleberry leaves

Sparkleberry flowers

Sparkleberry flowers

Sparkleberry leaves and berries