Symplocos paniculata is a rare shrub or small tree that has ornamental value spring and fall. Size is 10 to 20 feet tall, often wider than tall. Fragrant white flowers are borne in mid-spring in great profusion. They are followed in autumn by ultramarine or bright turquoise-blue fruit. Excellent for bird habitat. Our plants are seedlings off a dozen mature plants here at the nursery. Zones 4 - 8.
Sapphireberry is rarely available from from even specialist nurseries, because while it is claimed to be easy to root from softwood cuttings, itís mostly impossible to keep the newly rooted plants alive the following winter. We never had luck even getting the softwood cuttings to root. And when we tried to grow the plant from seed we also failed when we transplanted the new seedlings (which take 2 years to emerge). So now we let nature do its magic and dig the sprouted seedlings (which number in the hundreds) found throughout our nursery. (See photo.) Birds have spread the seed all about. It’s not a problem or invasive; may even be our retirement.
I had never seen the native species, Symplocos tinctoria, until I toured the lowland along the Chattahoochee River nearby the nursery after Chattahoochee Hills (our city) obtained a new park property recently. Plan to take cuttings (does it root??) after it blooms.
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