`Native Blue', a New Southern Ornamental (Vaccinium darowii) Blueberry Cultivar

in HortScience
Authors:
Stephen J. Stringer*USDA ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS 39470

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Arlen DraperUSDA ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS 39470

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James M. SpiersUSDA ARS, Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, MS 39470

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Ornamental blueberries are increasing in popularity in southern landscaping due to their attractive foliage and also since they provide food and serve as attractants to birds and other wildlife. `Native Blue', tested as MS611, resulted from a cross of two native diploid Vaccinium darowii clones, Florida 4B X US 799. US 799 was selected from seedlings grown from open-pollinated seed collected by Dr. Paul Lyrene in Ocala National Forest, Florida. The Cross was made by Dr. Arlen Draper and selected in the greenhouse in 1987. Plants of `Native Blue' are low growing, compact, and finely branched with small, glaucous leaves and are quite typical of V. darowii. In test plots in Mississippi, the plants set many small berries and after four years have have grown to a height of approximately 18 inches. Desireable characteristics include beautiful pastel foliage, hardy and vigorous plants producing much fruit that are attractive to native birds.

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