CPC Plant Profile: Rayner's Blueberry
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Plant Profile

Rayner's Blueberry (Vaccinium sempervirens)

Clonal habit of Vaccinium sempervirens.

Photo Credit: Michael Kunz
Description
  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ericaceae
  • State: SC
  • Nature Serve ID: 147905
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

Rayners Blueberry is a small trailing or spreading heath found in Atlantic white cedar bogs and seepage slopes and endemic to Lexington County in the Sandhills of South Carolina. It produces few small white flowers in late March to early April and even fewer fruits. The leaves of Rayners blueberry superficially resemble those of the creeping blueberry (V. crassifolium), but can be distinguished by their larger size. Kirkman and Ballington (1990) reduced it to a subspecies V. crassifolium, but Weakley (2002) prefers to retain it as a species because of its distinct morphology. Rayners blueberry was first described in 1980 and is endangered in South Carolina.

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Updates
Michael Kunz
  • 11/30/2021
  • Seed Collection

The North Carolina Botanical Garden updated seed collections of this rare blueberry in August 2021.  Vaccinium sempervirens is a heavily clonal species known from a single county in SC. It is not known for prolific fruit production and as such most seed collections are small.  To update aging collections and contribute seed to the IMLS longevity project, we collected about 3000 seed from 32 individual clumps (maternal lines) from one population.  This collection is supported by CPC and made possible with the cooperation of the Kieth Bradley and the SC Natural Heritage Program.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

The plant is endangered in South Carolina. It is endemic to South Carolina and there are no known occurences outside the state. It is limited to one drainage area.

  • 01/01/2010

Isolated population and restricted range.

  • 01/01/2010

Extremely uncommon endemic taxon with a very limited distribution. 3 populations known. (Kirkman et al. 1989)

  • 01/01/2010

No current research underway.

  • 01/01/2010

Populations occur on private land. No current management or protection is afforded (Bert Pittman, South Carolina Heritage Trust Program, pers. comm.)

  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection from all extant populations. Pollination ecology, basic community relationships, population genetic studies.

  • 01/01/2010

Further seed collection and propagation are needed.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Vaccinium sempervirens
Authority Rayner & Henderson
Family Ericaceae
CPC Number 4363
ITIS 523113
USDA VACRS
Common Names Rayner's blueberry | Raynor's huckleberry
Associated Scientific Names Vaccinium sempervirens | Vaccinium crassifolium | Vaccinium crassifolium ssp. sempervirens
Distribution Slopes along the headwaters of Scouter Creek in Lexington County South Carolina (about 6 miles). Shealey's Pond in Lexington County contains the type specimen. (Kirkman et al. 1989)
State Rank
State State Rank
South Carolina S1
Habitat

Trailing or spreading low-arching sub-shrub with semi-evergreen leaves. (Kirkman et al. 1989)

Ecological Relationships

Found in a unique hillside seepage bog with a canopy of Chamaecyparis thyoides and Pinus serotina and also on some upland clay and sandstone outcroppings dominated by Pinus palustris (Kirkman et al. 1989). It is a poor sexual reproducer and asexual reproduction is by air layering and seems to determine colony size (Kirkman and Ballington 1989).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Butterflies & Moths
Butterflies Confirmed Pollinator Link
Butterflies Confirmed Pollinator Link
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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