​Farkleberry Bush

​Farkleberry Bush

Posted by Tammy Sons on Mar 29, 2018


The farkleberry is a shrub, the vaccinum arboreum, a part of the heath family. It grows naturally in the southeast and the south-central United States in Texas, Nebraska, Illinois, Florida, and Virginia. It is evergreen in the south, keeping its oval-elliptical leaves, and deciduous in the north.

It is also known as the sparkleberry. It grows in neutral to strongly acidic soils in moist areas like wet bottomlands and creek banks. It also grows on dunes, in rocky woods, meadows, on dry hillsides, and on hammocks. The shrub grows to be from 12 to 30 feet tall. Its leathery, glossy green leaves are shaped like an oval-elliptical and have an acute apex. Each leaf measures approximately 1" to 2 3/4" long by 3/4" to 1 1/4" wide. It grows well in full sun and partial sun. When fully grown, it reaches up to 40 feet in width. This bushy shrub has a short trunk with contorted branches creating a dense round crown. The trunk has an outer bark of grayish-brown that exfoliates in thin strips to reveal a smooth reddish-brown.

The farkleberry is a zone 6a-9b plant. This plant is ideal for Xero-scaping or xeriscaping as it is drought tolerant. Plant it in your garden to attract butterflies, bees, birds, and wildlife. It is herbaceous, so year-round, it will be visually pleasing. It produces tiny fragrant white flowers amidst its glossy green leaves in the spring, and in the fall, the leaves turn pink, then rich red, then purple.

It produces small bell-shaped, drooping white or pink-tinted flowers in the late winter to mid-spring. These flowers are followed by the production of a shiny blue-black berry with kidney-shaped stone-like seeds. The berry has a bitter taste on the human palate; however, the berry is favored by the eastern bluebird, catbirds, the crested flycatcher, the blue jay, and the tufted titmouse. Deer, bears, raccoons, foxes, opossums, turkeys, and bobwhites also relish this berry. If you enjoy various wildlife, this shrub will encourage a steady variety of animals to consume the berries it produces in the late spring.