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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Ordo: Ericales

Familia: Ericaceae
Subfamilia: Vaccinioideae
Tribus: Vaccinieae
Genus: Vaccinium
Sectio: V. sect. Cyanococcus
Species: Vaccinium virgatum

Vaccinium virgatum Aiton, 1789

Cyanococcus amoenus (Ait.) Small
Cyanococcus virgatus (Ait.) Small
Vaccinium amoenum Ait.
Vaccinium ashei Rehd.
Vaccinium corymbosum var. amoenum (Aiton) A.Gray
Vaccinium virgatum var. ozarkense Ashe
Vaccinium virgatum var. speciosum E.J.Palmer


Vaccinium virgatum Bigel. = Vaccinium pallidum Ait.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Southeastern USA
USA (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Aiton, W. 1789. Hortus Kewensis; or, a catalogue of the plants cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. Vol. I. Monandria–Heptandria. XXX+496 pp., tt. 1–6. George Nicol, London. BHL Reference page. : 2:12.


Hassler, M. 2020. Vaccinium virgatum. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 30. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Vaccinium virgatum in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 30. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Vaccinium virgatum. Published online. Accessed: May 30 2020.
Tropicos.org 2020. Vaccinium virgatum. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 May 30.

Vernacular names
English: smallflower blueberry

Vaccinium virgatum (commonly known as rabbit-eye blueberry,[2] smallflower blueberry[3] or southern black blueberry [2]) is a species of blueberry native to the Southeastern United States, from North Carolina south to Florida and west to Texas.


Vaccinium virgatum is a deciduous shrub growing to 3 to 6 feet tall and with up to a 3-foot spread.[4] The leaves are spirally arranged, oblate to narrow elliptic, 3 inches long and start out red-bronze in the spring only to develop into a dark-green.[4] The flowers are white, bell-shaped, 5 mm long. The fruit is a berry 5 mm diameter, dark blue to black, bloomed pale blue-gray by a thin wax coating.

Vaccinium virgatum is self-infertile, and must have two or more varieties to pollenize each other. Honeybees are inefficient pollinators, and carpenter bees frequently cut the corollas to rob nectar without pollinating the flowers. V. virgatum does best when pollinated by buzz pollination by bees, such as the native southeastern blueberry bee, Habropoda laboriosa.

Berries of Vaccinium virgatum are edible and are used as sauces and syrups, and for breads, muffins, pancakes, and pies,[4] and may have pain killing properties (antinociceptive effects).[5]

Vaccinium virgatum is grown as an ornamental plant, especially for its fall colors, typically bright orange or red.[4]

Vaccinium virgatum grows best on acid soil and is subject to few pests and diseases. Because it is not self-fruitful, two compatible varieties should be planted next to each other to maintain fruiting. If maintained with mulching, it may endure temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants mature to heights from 3 to 6 feet, with a width of up to 3 feet. The plant has few insect or disease problems, however birds and squirrels consume its fruit.[4]

Vaccinium virgatum was originally described and published in Hortus Kewensis 2:12. 1789. (V. amoenum, which was later determined to be a synonym of V. virgatum, was also described in the same publication.) "Vaccinium virgatum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved January 9, 2012.
"Vaccinium virgatum". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved July 8, 2012.
"Vaccinium virgatum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
Bruce Asakawa; Sharon Asakawa (3 September 2001). California Gardener's Guide. Cool Springs Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-1-930604-47-6. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
Maria Rosana Ramirez, Leandra Guterres, Odila E. Dickel, Micheli R. de Castro, Amelia T. Henriques, Márcia M. de Souza, Daniela Martí Barros "Preliminary Studies on the Antinociceptive Activity of Vaccinium ashei Berry in Experimental Animal Models." Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2010: 336-342

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