Metagonia crenulata (Dunal) Nutt.
Metagonia marginata (Dunal) Nutt.
Vaccinium crenulatum Dunal
Vaccinium dasygynum S.F.Blake
Vaccinium marginatum Dunal
Vaccinium mortinia Benth.
Vaccinium polystachyum Benth.
Vaccinium ramosissimum Dunal
Common Name: Mortiño
Vaccinium floribundum varies widely in habit according to habitat. It ranges from an evergreen shrub to a dwarf, procumbent or scandent subshrub growing 0.2 - 2.5 metres tall with occasional specimens to 3.5 metres[
The edible fruit is greatly enjoyed within the plant's native range. Although not usually cultivated, the fruit is widely sold in the local markets of Ecuador and Colombia[
S. America - Ecuador and Colombia
Lower montane dry forest, premontane dry forest, montane moist to wet forest, montane cloud forest, subpáramo thickets, grass and Espeletia páramo, to superpáramo, at elevations of 1,400 - 4,350 metres[
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Vaccinium floribundum succeeds outdoors only in the milder areas of the temperate zone, where it can grow well in a woodland garden[
] .Although frosts can occur on almost any night at the higher elevations of its native range, the plant still grows and crops well there. The daytimes there, however, are generally warm or hot all year round, and so it is the longer lasting cold of winters in the temperate zone that causes damage to the plant.
Succeeds in full sun or light shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[
]. Requires a moist but freely-draining lime free soil, preferring one that is rich in peat or a light loamy soil with added leaf-mould[
]. Prefers a very acid soil with a pH in the range of 4.5 to 6, plants soon become chlorotic when lime is present. Requires shelter from strong winds[
Seemingly fire resistant, the plant often sprouts vigorously after fire[
Dislikes root disturbance, plants are best grown in pots until being planted out in their permanent positions[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Some forms are juicy, sub-acid and pleasantly flavoured[
]. Highly esteemed[
]. It is an ingredient of a special dish with molasses, spices and other fruits that is eaten on All Soul's Day in S. America[
]. The fruit is rather small, about 5mm in diameter[
The species is of special interest for its potential in breeding programmes where it could endow frost resistance to the flowers.
The wood is used for fuel[
Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed[
]. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification[
]. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[
]. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame[
]. Slow and difficult.
Layering in late summer or early autumn[
]. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer[
]. Takes 18 months[
Division of suckers in spring or early autumn[