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How to Identify Viburnum

By Cayden Conor ; Updated September 21, 2017
The viburnum plant's colorful fruit
viburnum image by wildman from Fotolia.com

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.

The viburnum leaves are lobed.
viburnum leaf backlit image by cullenphotos from Fotolia.com

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.

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 ΒΌ 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.

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.

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.


About the Author


Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.