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Viburnum opulus

Previously known as:

  • Viburnum trilobum
Phonetic Spelling
vih-BUR-num OP-yoo-lus
Description

European Cranberry is native to Europe, Asia and N. Africa. It has attractive flowers, foliage, drupes, and autumn coloration. Despite the name, it is not a cranberry, the berries merely looking like those of the Vaccinium genus.

It grows best in moist, well-drained, humusy soils but is adaptable to various soils and pHs. Prune out the oldest stems to renew. This plant is mildly resistant to damage by deer. Use as a hedge or in a shrub border.

This plant looks very much like the native var. americanum and is sometimes sold as the native in nurseries. Differentiation is by glands at the tip of the leaf stalk near the blade. Those of Guelder-rose are typically shorter than wide, oval-elliptic, and bowl or cup-shaped with a distinct rim. Also, the fruit is more bitter and less desirable for making jellies and sauces.

It has invasive tendencies and it is now found in the wild from Newfoundland south to Virginia and west to Washington state. Please consider planting a native or less problematic plant.

Pest: Aphids can be a problem

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Compactum', 'Notcutt', 'Roseum', 'Wentworth'
Tags:
#red#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#large shade tree#yellow#partial shade#showy berries#drought tolerant#easy to grow#wildlife plant#fall interest#showy fruits#moist soil#deer resistant#bird friendly#fall color purple
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Compactum', 'Notcutt', 'Roseum', 'Wentworth'
Tags:
#red#sun#showy flowers#deciduous#large shade tree#yellow#partial shade#showy berries#drought tolerant#easy to grow#wildlife plant#fall interest#showy fruits#moist soil#deer resistant#bird friendly#fall color purple
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Viburnum
    Species:
    opulus
    Family:
    Viburnaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Bark used medicinally
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Asia and N. Africa.
    Distribution:
    CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KY , MA , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SD , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY Canada: AB , BC , MB , NB , NS , PE , QC , SK
    Wildlife Value:
    Mildly deer resistant. Birds love the berries. Host plant to the Spring Azure butterfly.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Drupes can be eaten off the bush or used in jams.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 12 ft. 0 in. - 16 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2b, 2a, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    0.3 in. bright red bitter drupe in fall that shrivels after a frost looking like a red raison and persists into winter
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    White flowers on 2 to 4 in. flat-topped cyme. Larger sterile flowers surround fertile smaller flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    2-4" long and nearly as wide glossy dark green leaves are three-lobed with pointed tips, rounded base, serrated margins and a somewhat wrinkled surface with impressed leaf venation. Sporadic fall color of yellow to red-purple.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown waxy bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are brown and glabrous with white lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Weedy