Scientific: Elaeocarpus decipiens
Common: Japanese blueberry tree
Origin: Eastern Asia
Landscape Use: Mesic landscape tree, lawn tree, privacy screens and large informal hedge (smaller cultivars), landscape accent or focal point.
Form and Character: Upright, rounded to columnar, lustrous, neat and tidy to formal, clean. Japanese blueberry tree is an excellent tree for all you landscape neat freaks who expect your yards to look as clean as your kitchen and living room floors.
Growth Habit: Evergreen, perennial tree, moderately slow to 30- to 40-feet tall with less than equal spread. Growth rate and eventual size varies with water availability.
Foliage/Texture: Ovate to lanceolate leaves, alternate, new foliage tinged bronze red; medium texture.
Flowers/Fruits: Clustered, fragrant, 5-petaled, inverted urn-shaped, white flowers on short axillary racemes are small and delicate with prominent green sepals, flowers are valvate in bud. Flowers tend to be hidden within foliar canopy. Fruits are olive-shaped drupe and range in color from dark blue to bruise purple to nearly black when mature.
Seasonal Color: Foliar accent created by the bronze reddish color of new foliage.
Temperature: Intolerant of air temps above 115oF......but then again aren't we all?
Light: Full sun in fully irrigated mesic landscapes with much greenery; however, in oasis and transitional type landscapes then partial shade, especially protection from reflected sunlight and summer western sun.
Soil: Tolerant of neutral to slightly alkaline soils (prefers slightly acidic soils, but LOL we have none of those here in Phoenix). Intolerant of high soil alkalinity (pH higher than 8), caliche, and poor soil drainage.
Watering: Give frequent deep supplemental waterings especially during warm times of year, otherwise somewhat less frequently during the Phoenix cool season.
Pruning: Limited pruning or training is necessary since Japanese blueberry tree has an inherent formal and clean appearance, primarily elevate SLOWLY the crown base height over time (to prevent trunk sunscald injury) to establish an urban tree appearance.
Propagation: Seed, softwood cuttings
Disease and Pests: None
Additional comments: This is a relatively new and rare landscape tree for the Phoenix area. It is strictly for mesic landscapes with copius surrounding vegetation greenry and turf. New cultivar introductions include 'Little Emperor' (a trademarked selection from Monrovia Nursery).