Vaccinium erythrinum or Java Mountain Lingonberry

If you enjoy reading a plant review full of speculation and possibly false information, read on!   I have found very little written about this shrub, and plan on doing further research, but here’s what I have so far.  Vacciunium erythrinum is an evergreen shrub with foliage similar to the boxwood.    It produces small red flowers followed by small dark purple edible berries in late summer.  It’s not big, only growing 2-3 feet tall and wide.  If indeed it is from the Indonesian mountains on the Island of Java, conditions there are very wet in the winter and dry in the summer (sound familiar?) with temperatures tropical in the lowlands and cooler with elevation gain.  The highest mountains in this area are permanently covered with snow.  High humidity and and seasonal wind are also part of Indonesian climate.  Consider then that this diminutive shrub is native to a cool, windy mountainside on the island of Java.  It gets soaked with water during the wet season and lacks moisture during the dry season.  It might grow on a rocky, exposed slope, making small size a plus.   Perhaps the berries are scavenged by the native herbivores….the sun bear, monkey or bird?  Here is a glimpse of information I found while searching online:

Quote from 1901 PhD thesis by W.M. Munson “The horticultural status of the genus Vaccinium”
“An erect, glabrous, evergreen shrub with bright red twigs;
leaves ovate, obtuse, coriaceous, entire; flowers in long, one-
sided, terminal racemes ; corolla cylindraceous, 5 -toothed,}^ inch
long, purple, reddish. (Figured: Bot. Mag. 1.4688; Lemaire,
Jard. Fl. 4: 364; Jour, of Hort. 34: 39.) Mountainous regions,

Sent to England in 1852 and since grown by various nursery-
men as a greenhouse pot-plant. It is a strong plant, furnishing
an abundance of bloom in December and January. Not remark-
able, but worthy a place in collections. A very distinct type,
the only other representative of which, so far as observed, is
V. Rollisoni, Hook, (Bot. Mag. 1.4612).”

Little evergreen shrub
Vaccinium erythrinum

These two plants don’t look alike, maybe same genus, different species….

2 thoughts on “Vaccinium erythrinum or Java Mountain Lingonberry

  1. Hi, I was wondering if you have learned any more about Vaccinium erythrinum subsequent to your July 1, 2011 post. Specifically, I am hoping to find out whether it’s hardy to about zone 7 in Seattle… Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!

    1. We keep them at the nursery year round in Redmond, WA and they do fairly well in the winter, so definitely yes for Seattle weather. It’s a beautiful plant with not much information. I haven’t planted one in my garden yet, those plants with flashy flowers keep getting first priority!

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