Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Farkleberry, Sparkleberry, Tree-Huckleberry
Vaccinium arboreum

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Vaccinium (vak-SIN-ee-um) (Info)
Species: arboreum (ar-BOR-ee-um) (Info)

Synonym:Batodendron arboreum

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

23 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
By simple layering
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Toxicodendron
Thumbnail #1 of Vaccinium arboreum by Toxicodendron

By Toxicodendron
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By patp
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There are a total of 15 photos.
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9 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Texaspatriot On Dec 18, 2012, Texaspatriot wrote:

When i moved to Kountze i had never seen a huckleberry tree before. they were growing all along a creek in my backyard. i showed them to a friend of mine and he told me what they were and how good they were. I ended up making jelly out of them and more than one person has said it was better jelly than may haw. i have since found a larger species on my property that the berries don't ripen until fall but they are tart. Also great with blue bell vanilla ice cream.

Positive pleasant7 On Jun 12, 2012, pleasant7 from Olive Branch, MS wrote:

We have many Sparkleberrys growing wild on our acreage in Benton County located in the hills of North Mississippi. What a beautiful speciman!

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 6, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This tree is terrific in many ways, to the point where I'm fairly confident in calling it the best li'l tree in North America. It's basically a big blueberry shrub with small black berries instead of fleshy blue ones. The fall foliage is a dazzling crimson, as it is on blueberry bushes, though the fall leaves don't cling as tenaciously as do fall blueberry leaves. The tree sends out runners several feet (to yards) from the parent tree; I am currently trying to pot one up, but am not too optimistic. I also collected many seeds from the huge 25' (my estimate) one at Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville, LA. Apparently this species likes sandier, drier soil than what we have here on the west (south) bank of the Mississippi River, but I'm going to try to grow these little bad boys anyway. I've never seen one for sale at a nursery or plant show around here, perhaps due to their slow growth rate and lack of name recognition, hence why I'm taking the seed route. If I have to wait 10+ years to have a mature one to put in my yard, then so be it. The mature ones look a lot like 'Natchez' Crape Myrtles to me, but no self-respecting plant geek would ever plant a C.M.

Yes, the fruits are edible. They remind me a bit of Mission figs (by far the best fig variety) in terms of taste and texture, or perhaps of black mulberries.

Positive pixelphoto On Jul 1, 2007, pixelphoto from Fort Valley, GA wrote:

Related to bluebrries but the berries are somewhat tart.
Beautiful flowers in spring and showy color change of foliage in fall.
Spindley and crooked trunk grows well in the understory of pines we have in Georgia on border line of 7b 8a USDA map.
We literally have thousands of them on our 37 acres of land.

Positive JMBreland On Dec 6, 2006, JMBreland from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I delighted upon discovering wild specimens in the forested ravine behind our house here in Mobile, AL. I'm selectively clearing the area and leaving a few good-sized specimens to grace my future woodland garden. It's something special. *smile*

Positive SudieGoodman On May 30, 2005, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Sam Rayburn Lake, Zone 8b:

Ahhh, sweet memories of post-depression years when my brother, and uncle who was 1 year older than I picked Huckleberries and found them to be very tastey! Food was scarce in those days because of World War II.

Huckleberry is similiar in taste to Blueberry; both are delicious on pancakes, in muffins, or eaten fresh.
These wonderful trees grow wild in southeast, Texas!
Use the berries in cereal! It is simply delicious.

Remember Huckleberry Finn? LOL

Positive patp On Jun 12, 2004, patp from Summerville, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Sparkleberry is one of the most beautiful native evergreen bushes growing in this area (Zone 8a.) It produces lovely small bell-shaped flowers in early spring that quickly develop into small green berries (oops, I should have carried the camera with me on that walk!). Its growth pattern reminds me of a Japanese flower arrangement - twisted, asymmetrical, graceful. I've seen primitive chairs made of its wood sold in a local gift shop. It's primarily an understory grower that tolerates drought, high temperates, some direct sunlight, is ignored by deer, and is a joy to see.

Positive tweek On Jun 11, 2004, tweek from Columbia, SC wrote:

I too find it to be a slow grower. In a logged area, this plant has become widespread. It grows in thick thickets in a bottom area close to the water table. It is found sparsely on the adjacent hills.

By accident, I have found this tree to be interesting for woodworking. The grain is very tight and the wood has a creamy color with a pinkish cast. The wood is extremely strong. If older specimens could be found, it would make a nice baseball bat or golfclub head.

I just identified the tree this year by the bell-shaped flowers.


Positive Terry On Jul 21, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A slow-growing, drought tolerant native that deserves to be grown more widely. The bitter fruit are not as desirable as some other fruits of this family, but the pretty exfoliating bark, tolerance to dry and somewhat-alkaline soil makes it a great plant for the landscape, especially if you have a woodland area.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Cullman, Alabama
Daphne, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Bartow, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Newberry, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Fort Valley, Georgia
Mandeville, Louisiana
Hickory Flat, Mississippi
Apex, North Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Dickson, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Colmesneil, Texas
Flint, Texas
Gause, Texas
Kountze, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Willis, Texas

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