Identifying wild blueberries in SC

shanc21May 22, 2010


I have found a small stand of wild blueberries in some woods near my house and am trying to figure out what kind they are. I live in West Columbia very close to the Saluda River - these woods are on a bluff adjacent to the river on the edge of a primarily pine woods. They are getting sun because they are on the edge. None of the descriptions or pictures of blueberries I've found on the internet quite fit. Does anybody know what types of blueberries grow wild in SC. Here are the characteristics - There is an area about 20 foot square that has several clumps of bushes spread through it. Each clump has probably 2 or 3 bushes very close together. Most bushes are 2-3 feet high, but some are smaller and one is 6-8 ft. high. The leaves are small, opposite, and have a hint of fine serration. The leaf stems are reddish. The canes are brown and green. The berries are tiny - like BBs. I am pretty sure they are blueberries and not huckleberries, based on seed count and fruit flesh color. They are very flavorful, just tiny. I think they are spreading by rhizomes, which from what I've read, would make them "lowbush" but lowbush isn't supposed to grow in the south, and isn't supposed to get as big as these. None of the pictured varieties that do grow in the south that I've found on the web have leaves this small. So I am perplexed. There is wild muscadine grape growing in this same spot all intertwined with the blueberry bushes. Thanks for any help.

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It is difficult to identify your 'blueberry' without seeing it. Suggest that you place a call to one of the Carolina's native plant and plant hunter experts, Bob McCartney at Woodlander's Nursery in Aiken, SC. He should be able to help you and may even be interested in your discovery. Nursery phone number is 803-648-7522.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Thanks - I will definately seek such help. May try to post some pictures as well.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 10:47PM
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You likely have more than one kind there, by the way. Here is Georgia, it is not uncommon for me to find 3 different species in a wooded area.

The tall one could be Vaccinium corymbosum if the leaves are not shiny; Vaccinium arboreum if they are thick and shiny.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vaccinium page

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 8:20PM
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I was told that all the flavor is in the skin so bigger berry does not necessarily mean more yummy - which could explain why tiny berries would seem tastier.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:07AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Most wild berries i've had- be they on tall or short bushes taste great!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:02PM
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