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Delavays blueberry (vaccinium delavayi) - landscaping-gardening

 

Whether we know it or not, most of us are customary with the genus Vaccinium as it has among its members more than a few flow or aptitude ad crops, such as blueberry, cranberry, bilberry and huckleberry. Vaccinium delavayi, however, is exactingly ornate and very doubtful to be our next export success.

The name vaccinium is an antiquated one taken at once from the Latin vernacular: it was used to refer to Vaccinium myrtillus, the enjoyably named whortleberry. Vaccinium delavayi takes its aspect name, like so many Chinese plants, from the French Jesuit disciple Abbé Jean Marie Delavay (1838-95), who bare the plant and introduced it to cultivation. He was also accountable for such well-known plants as Abies delavayi, Magnolia delavayi and Osmanthus delavayi getting our gardens.

Vaccinium delavayi, a native of Burma and south-west China, is a hardy evergreen shrub with small, rounded trees that are tough and leathery. In bounce it produces clusters of small, bell-shaped to about globular, white plant life that open from pink buds. The plant life are very much in the style of Pieris, Gaultheria, Andromeda and a number of other carefully correlated genera in the erica family.

Pretty as the flora are, the real ask of this barely blueberry lies in the deep bluish-black berries that follow. They are just like small blueberries and have a analogous flavour but are considerably acid except very ripe. Even though it seems a shame to pick the berries, you might as well since the birds will have no such reservations.

While scarcely a spectacular plant, Vaccinium delavayi is alluring all over the year and is continually interesting, whether in flower, fruit or just as a neat plants plant. It is an ideal specimen for a rockery or incompletely in the shade corner. It grows to about 45cm high × 60cm wide and can be kept trimmed to a small mound. However, any pruning will adversely change each the peak or fruiting.

As any blueberry cultivator will tell you, Vaccinium plants favor sharp soil conditions. The small ornate species are most at home when grown with other erica category plants such as dwarf rhododendrons, evergreen azaleas, ericas, callunas and pieris.

The native New Zealand Gaultheria species are appealing plants to amalgamate with Vaccinium delavayi. Gaultheria crassa, in particular, looks very like its Chinese next of kin and provides a good illustration of how plants that evolve under comparable situation often resemble each other in spite of going on thousands of kilometres apart.

Other small native berrying plants, above all those of the epacris family, also make good companions. An alpine rockery with good berrying forms of Pentachondra pumila, Leucopogon fraseri, Cyathodes empetrifolia, Gaultheria crassa and Vaccinium delavayi would be full of activity and colour all the way through the year.

You won't find Vaccinium delavayi in every plot centre, but it shouldn't compel too much of a exploration to locate a specimen. Try looking in the perennials as well as among the shrubs, as it's often sold at a very small size and tends to get lumped in with the rockery perennials.

I am a backyard book biographer and horticultural photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I run a stock photo collection called Country, Farm and Backyard (http://www. cfgphoto. com). This commentary may be re-published provided this in order is in print with it and is evidently visible.


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