Please submit a search term.

Viburnum rafinesquianum

Common Name(s):
Downy arrowwood
Native Plants, Shrubs

Viburnum rafinesquianum, commonly called the Downy Arrowwood is common in forest understories and along woodland margins. In heavier shade it is somewhat sparse but in the open can form dense, shrubby thickets. As the common name suggests, this plant is noted for its narrow, straight stems that were preferred for making arrows by native americans.

Regions:  Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:   Spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Summer

Wildlife Value:  This plant is moderate in var. affine, the 

Medium green leaves; fruit attracts birds; rose to maroon fall foliage; straight stems; some salt toleranceFruit attracts birds; some salt spray tolerance; native to southeastern US. This plant is mildly resistant to damage by deer.ely resistant to damage from deer.  It is a potential host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly.  Its fruits are eaten by songbirds, grouse, wild turkeys and squirrels.  Its twigs and leaves are browsed by white-tailed deer.  

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: 

6-10 ft.
The leaves of the Downy arrowwood are simple and opposite, the blades mostly egg-shaped, 1½ to 3 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, coarsely toothed, tapered to a point and rounded at the base, on a stalk 1/8 to ½ inch long. At the base of the stalk is a pair of slender, nearly thread-like appendages (stipules). The upper surface is dark green with sparse hairs, lower surface paler and hairy, sometimes hairy just along the veins. Main stems are multiple from base, notably slender and straight, bark brownish gray to gray, mostly smooth though rougher at the base, the largest stems only 1 to 1¼ inch diameter.
The Downy arrowwood has rounded flower clusters, ¾ to 2¼ inches across, at tips of one-year old branches. The flowers are creamy white, about ¼ inch across, bell to saucer-shaped with 5 broad, rounded lobes. In the center are 5 long, pale yellow-tipped stamens and a single style. The calyx cupping the flower has a short tube and 5 short, triangular lobes. The calyx and flower stalks are mostly smooth. Mature fruit is an egg-shaped, somewhat flattened, ¼ to ½ inch long, berry-like drupe, nearly black when ripe with a single seed inside.
3 to 8
The Downy arrowwood grows best in full sun to partial shade. It will grow in a range of soil types.
Straight stems; spreading
Sun to partial shade; tolerates drought
Blue black fruit
6 ft.
forest tree, deciduous, drought tolerant, deer resistant

NCCES plant id: 572

Viburnum rafinesquianum Viburnum rafinesquianum
Superior National Forest, CC BY - 2.0
Viburnum rafinesquianum Viburnum rafinesquianum
Dan Mullen, CC BY-ND-2.0
Viburnum rafinesquianum Viburnum rafinesquianum
Superior National Forest, CC BY - 2.0
Viburnum rafinesquianum Viburnum rafinesquianum
Superior National Forest, CC BY - 2.0