At a Glance

Rebel plants are very vigorous and precocious with a slightly spreading growth habit. The variety produces abundant fruiting wood annually and leafs well following the mild winters of south Georgia.


Rebel berries ripen five to eight days earlier than Star, a 1996 University of Florida release. Generally, earlier fruit brings a higher market price.

Berry size and plant vigor also generally exceeded Star. Rebel fruit are large, reaching 2.5 g/berry or more under good management, which includes good fertility practices and annual pruning. Other important fruit characteristics, including stem scar, color and firmness are good to excellent for Rebel. Rebel flavor can be bland if ripe berries hang too long on the plant.


Growers desiring an early ripening southern highbush should consider Rebel in areas where southern highbush are successfully grown. The estimated chill requirement is 400-450 hours < 45 F (7 C). The recommended companion variety for cross pollination is Suziblue.


Tested as TH-642, Rebel was selected in 2000 at the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga.,from a group of open pollinated seedlings of the selection FL 92-84 planted in Griffin in 1997. Rebel has been tested in plantings at Alapaha and Griffin, Ga., since 2001. The selection was planted at a grower test site in 2003 in Ware County, Ga., and in a high density test at Alapaha in 2003.


Developed by D. Scott NeSmith of the University of Georgia, Rebel is a 2006 release by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Stations.

This protected blueberry variety can be sold only by individuals licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) and Georgia Seed Development (GSD).

Sea Star - It is a patented variety that can only be sold as certified sod or sprigs bygrowers  licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation (UGARF) and Georgia Seed Development (GSD). USPP 18,138.


D. Scott NeSmith

D. Scott NeSmith

Dr. D. Scott NeSmith’s blueberry research program at the University of Georgia emphasizes new variety development as well as cultural management of blueberries for the southeastern United States.

Since taking over the UGA blueberry breeding program in 1998, Dr. NeSmith has released and patented 10 new commercial blueberry varieties and two ornamental blueberry varieties. His breeding program is now considered one of the most active low- to-mid chill blueberry programs in the world.  He joined UGA in 1990.

Dr. NeSmith has expanded UGA’s program globally through collaborative projects throughout the U.S. and many other countries including South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Japan, Europe, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Peru, and Mexico. Much of his cultural management research has been with growth regulators in blueberries.  He also conducts experiments on plant establishment, pollination, and post-harvest quality.

Dr. NeSmith is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) and the International Society for Horticultural Sciences.  He is a past President of the Southern Region ASHS and has served as an Associate Editor for the ASHS journal, HortScience. 

Dr. NeSmith has received the D.W. Brooks Excellence in Research Award from UGA and in 2011 was selected as a Fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences.  He has published more than 250 research papers, including more than 97 in refereed journals, and has received two awards for outstanding publications.

He graduated from the University of Georgia with B.S. and M.S. degrees. He obtained his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.


  • Department of Horticulture
  • University of Georgia, Griffin Campus