Sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum)

Sparkleberry 1

 

Sparkleberry is unique among the Blueberry Family, it can tolerate and thrive on neutral soils and does not require highly acidic conditions that other blueberries require.  Although it can thrive in acidic soils as well.   It grows best in full sun to part shade and is tolerant of droughts.    We have not eaten the Sparkleberry fruit so I would not recommend eating them without further research.    The Sparkleberry that we have in our garden is getting too much shade so it only produces a few fruits and it is too big to transplant so we keep it for its beautiful fall color.

Sparkleberry produces masses of white flowers that turn into masses of attractive shiny black berries that  begin to darken and ripen in the fall.   On the top of each berry is a five pointed star that often remain throughout winter.   It is slow growing and can take many years to reach ten feet tall.   Sparkleberry often has a coat of reddish lichen on the bark that is very interesting.   An added bonus is it beautiful fall leaf color in the fall.

sparkleberry 2

The Cherokee would use an infusion of leaves and roots to treat sore throats.  Also an extraction from the roots, bark and leaves were used to treat diarrhea.

 

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