A deciduous shrub, 2 to 4 ft high, of bushy, much-branched habit; twigs downy. Leaves oval or ovate, 3⁄4 to 3 in. long, about half as wide, pointed, dark dull green above, and downy on the midrib, paler or more or less glaucous and downy beneath; leaf-stalk 1⁄8 in. or less long. Flowers white, with bright yellow projecting anthers, produced during May and June in downy racemes, 1 to 2 in. long, furnished with leaf-like bracts 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 in. long. Corolla open, bell-shaped, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. wide; calyx glabrous except on the ciliate margins, flower-stalk slender, downy, 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long. Fruits greenish or yellowish, round or pear-shaped, 1⁄3 in. wide, not edible.
Native of eastern N. America; introduced in 1772. This is one of the prettiest vacciniums in its blossoms, which are freely borne on short, broad racemes, springing from the joints of the previous year’s wood. It is distinct among cultivated vacciniums in its open corollas with protruding stamens, likened by William Marchant to those of Solanum jasminoides in their shape. The leafy bracts are also a distinctive feature. It has nothing to offer out of flower, as the leaves do not colour in autumn and the fruits are of no interest.
var. melanocarpum Mohr V. melanocarpum (Mohr) Mohr – Leaves downy beneath. Calyx densely woolly. Fruits dark purple.
var. neglectum (Small) Deam Polycodium neglectum Small; V. neglectum (Small) Fern. – Young shoots, leaves and flower-stalks glabrous.