Meet 12 Species of Viburnum Shrubs

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    Members of the Viburnum Genus

    Andy / Andrew Fogg
    Andy Andrew Fogg/Flickr/CC 2.0

    If you are looking for a flowering shrub to add beauty to your landscape, one of the popular Viburnum shrubs may be a great addition. Here is an overview of this family, including some of the different species.

    Characteristics of Viburnum

    Viburnums are placed in the Adoxaceae family, though they used to be in the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) family. Members of this family are some of the relatively few kinds of trees and shrubs to feature opposite branching, so that can be a useful fact to...MORE remember for identification purposes. They can be either evergreen or deciduous depending on the species and location where they are growing.

    Many viburnums will put on a showy display, producing white (sometimes tinged with pink) flowers in an arrangement called a corymb. Most species are dioecious (or at least functionally dioecious, meaning that cross-pollination with another variety or species is needed for pollination to occur.) with a few being monoecious. If both sexes are present, the female flowers later produce drupes that are red, purple, blue or black. Some species are edible, while others are somewhat poisonous.


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  • 02 of 13

    Burkwood Viburnum

    Flowers on a Burkwood viburnum come in clusters.
    Gary Dean Austin/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The Burkwood viburnum was produced when the Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) and the service viburnum (Viburnum utile) were crossed. This species features large balled flower clusters that are fragrant. You may want to plant several of these shrubs together because that will mean better pollination and fruit production for fall color.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum x burkwoodii
    • Other Common Names: Snowball viburnum
    • Native to: Its parents are both from Asia
    • USDA Zones: 5-8
    • Height: 8-10' tall
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  • 03 of 13

    Cinnamomum-Leaved Viburnum

    The leaves on this shrub are similar to ones of the Cinnamomum genus
    Peganum/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The leaves on this evergreen viburnum species are similar to those of the camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora). It won the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum cinnamomifolium
    • Other Common Names: Cinnamon-leaved viburnum, cinnamon leaf viburnum
    • Native to: Western China
    • USDA Zones: 7-9
    • Height: 10-20' tall
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  • 04 of 13

    David Viburnum

    Clusters of white flowers form on the David viburnum
    Peganum/Flickr/CC 2.0

    This is one of the smaller viburnums and is evergreen. The name was given because a Jesuit missionary named Jean Pierre Armand David was the person who discovered it. The pretty little white flowers lead to small blue drupes.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum davidii
    • Native to: Western China
    • USDA Zones: 7-9
    • Height: 2-5' tall
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  • 05 of 13

    Henry's Viburnum

    Henry's viburnum with cliusters of fruit
    Wlcutler/Flickr/CC 2.0

    This viburnum shrub may be developed into a small tree by forming a single trunk through pruning if you desire. It was discovered by a man named Augustine Henry. The evergreen leaves are reddish when they are young and shift to green.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum henryi
    • Native to: China
    • USDA Zones: 7-10
    • Height: 7-15' tall
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  • 06 of 13

    Koreanspice Viburnum

    The Koreanspice viburnum is indeed from Korea, as well as Japan.
    X-oph/ Flickr/CC 2.0

    This diminutive species of viburnum has white or pink flowers that will add a lovely spice scent to your garden. It is a deciduous species and will add fall color when the leaves change.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum carlesii
    • Other Common Names: Mayflower viburnum, Korean viburnum
    • Native to: Japan and Korea
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 3-6' tall
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  • 07 of 13

    Larustinus Viburnum

    Flowers and fruit on a Laurustinus viburnum
    Wlcutler/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The leaves on this viburnum are much like those of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), prompting the common names. In warmer areas, it will bloom during the winter.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum tinus. Another botanical name is Tinus laurifolius.
    • Other Common Names: Laurestine, Laurestinus viburnum, and Laurustinus
    • Native to: The Mediterranean region and Macaronesia
    • USDA Zones: 7-10
    • Height: 6-12' tall
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  • 08 of 13

    Leatherleaf Viburnum

    This viburnum shrub comes from China
    Wallygrom/Flickr/CC 2.0

    This viburnum should do well in any soil you plant it in, as it can work with both acidic and alkaline pH values. It is either evergreen or deciduous depending on the climate where it is grown.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum rhytidophyllum
    • Native to: Central and western China
    • USDA Zones: 5-8
    • Height: 6-15' tall
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  • 09 of 13


    Nannyberries are edible
    Andrey_zharkikh/Flickr/CC 2.0

    You can eat the nannyberries straight from the shrub or cook them to make jams and jellies. Some people feel that this plant smells like sheep or goats, inspiring some of the common names. It is drought tolerant.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum lentago
    • Other Common Names: Sweet viburnum, sheepberry
    • Native to: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 2-8
    • Height: 12-18' tall
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  • 10 of 13

    Snowball Bush

    This is a sterile cultivar of snowball bush known as 'Roseum'
    F.D. Richards/Flickr/CC 2.0

    While there are several species of Viburnum that may use the name "snowball bush",Viburnum opulus is the one that is most likely. The white flowers are produced in large round clusters. The scarlet fruit does somewhat resemble a cranberry, but they are not relatives.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum opulus
    • Other Common Names: European highbush cranberry, Guelder rose, cramp bark, snowball tree, water elder, rose elder, red elder
    • Native to: Asia and Europe
    • USDA Zones: 3-8
    • Height: 8-15' tall
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  • 11 of 13

    Southern Arrowwood

    Butterflies are drawn to the southern arrowwood
    FritzFlohrReynolds/Flickr/CC 2.0

    If you have a spot that receives partial shade, this will be a good choice. The fruits of this species are blue when mature and can contrast nicely against the fall foliage.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum dentatum
    • Other Common Names: Roughish viburnum, arrowwood viburnum
    • Native to: Eastern North America
    • USDA Zones: 3-8
    • Height: 6-10' tall
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  • 12 of 13

    Tubeflower Viburnum

    This species has flowers that are tubular in shape.
    Peganum/Flickr/CC 2.0

    One feature of the tube flower viburnum that makes it stand out is the coating on the leaves, which is waxy. If marks are made on the leaves, they will remain there. As the name suggests, the flowers are quite tubular in shape. They become black drupes after pollination.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum cylindricum. This may also be listed as  Viburnum coriaceum.
    • Native to: China, the Indian subcontinent, Indo-China and Malaysia
    • USDA Zones: 6-10
    • Height: 10-16' tall
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  • 13 of 13

    Wayfaring Tree

    Wayfare Shrub
    This shrub can be invasive. F.D. Richards/Flickr/CC 2.0

    The wayfaring tree may be invasive in some areas, so ask about that at your local nursery or extension office before planting. It does do well under drought conditions.

    • Latin Name: Viburnum lantana
    • Other Common Names: Wayfaringtree viburnum, hoarwithy
    • Native to: Europe, Asia, and Africa
    • USDA Zones: 4-7
    • Height: 10-15' tall, sometimes more