How to Identify Viburnum


There are several types of viburnums--some with fruit, some with a clove-like aroma, and some with vibrant fall color. The colorful viburnum attracts wildlife to gardens during the fall and winter. One of the more common viburnum is the swamp-haw viburnum. It grows near stream banks from Florida to Long Island, and can be grown in the yard with partial shade to full sun.

Step 1

Look at the leaves of the plant. The viburnum has shiny, green leaves that grow in a dense, uniformed pattern on the plant, forming a domed shape. The leaves grow in pairs, side by side on the branches. The leaves are lobed.

Step 2

Check for white flowers in late June. The clusters of flowers are, depending on the cultivar, 2 to 6 inches across. Each individual flower grows up to ¼ inch wide. The white flowers give way to clusters of round drupes. The drupes (fleshy outside, surrounding a hard inside) start out green, then change to white, then pink, then bluish black by late summer. Each fruit contains one seed.

Step 3

Look at the foliage during the fall. In the fall, the viburnum's foliage changes to reddish-purple. If the cultivar is "winterthur," the fall colors are brighter red than other viburnum plants.

Step 4

Check for other cultivars: Some cultivars provide layered leaves and clusters of red fruit. Some cultivars produce creamy-colored blossoms, instead of white blossoms. Most viburnum grows up to 12 feet tall, but is still considered a shrub, not a tree. Some cultivars, such as the blue muffin, are more compact and are better for landscaping borders.


  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Viburnum
Keywords: viburnum, viburnum lobed leaves, viburnum berries

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Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.