Viburnums

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 “A garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music and art.” — Michael Dirr  

Kingdom: Plantae
Angiosperms
Eudicots
Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum L.

What are Viburnums?

The genus Viburnum includes 150-175 species found throughout the northern hemisphere. Many are suitable for cultivation and can be used for a variety of purposes—massing, hedges and screens, accent, or as a single specimen. They can range in height from one to over thirty feet, some have sublimely smelling blossoms, many have ornamental fruit, and striking fall foliage color. Most are deciduous, while a few hold their leaves into the winter.

In the opening chapter of his monograph on the genus, Michael Dirr relates how few characteristics the numerous and disparate species actually share:

"What biological ingredients (leaf, flower, fruit, seed, stem, pubescence) constitute a viburnum?' . . . . Viburnums umbrella many morphological characteristics. According to the list that follows . . . they may be

HABIT:
trees
shrubs
evergreen
semi-evergreen
deciduous
large (60 feet)
small (3 feet)

LEAVES:
large
small
entire
serrate
dentate
lobed
glabrous (no hairs)
tomentose (wooley)

INFLORESCENCES:
cymose
paniculate

BUDS:
imbricate
valvate
connate
glabrous
pubescent
red
green
brown
naked
FLOWERS:
white (most)
pink
all fertile
fertile and sterile
all sterile and showy
fragrant
foul
no discernible odor

FRUITS:
yellow
orange
red
black
purple
blue

 .  .  . or combinations and permutations of the above.

Where is this leading? Actually, to anarchy, because there are no common characteristics that can be applied across all species of Viburnum except that:
1. the fruit is a drupe, generally ellipsoidal, flattened, ovid to rounded, with a fleshy coat, hard bony endocarp, and a single seed within; and,
2. the leaves are always arranged opposite; a few species, occasionally, have three leaves at a node."*

Clearly, even without getting into the myriad cultivars, Viburnums are an extremely varied group. The good thing about this is that whatever your need, there is surely a Viburnum to fill it.

*Viburnums: Flowering Shrubs for Every Season. Portland: Timber Press, 2007

 

What's in a name?

Our first written record of the name Viburnum comes to us from Virgil in his First Eclogue, c. 40 B.C.E., where, discussing the city of Rome, Tityrus says:

sic parvis componere magna solebam.
Verum hæc tantum alias inter caput extulit urbes,
Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi.

I used to compare great things with small.
But this has lifted up her head among other cities,
as much as cypresses do among the bending wafaring trees.


"The name is derived from a viendo, which signifies to bind. The ancient writers seem to have called any shrub, that was fit for this purpose, viburnum: but the more modern authors have restrained that name to express only our wayfaring-tree [Viburnum lantana]"
(Text, translation, and notes from Bucolicorum, Ecologæ Decem, John Martyn's edition, Oxford, 1820.)

Various other editions have translated Viburnum as Guelder Rose (now reserved for V. opulus), osier, Lantana, and Wayfaringtree. Over time, the word changed from referring soley to V. lantana, so that by the time printed herbals came into use, Viburnum referred to the entire group—what we now identify as the genus.

In John Gerard's The Herball Or Generall Historie of Plantes (London: John Norton, 1597) we read an early description of as well as uses for Viburnum.  [Read other early descriptions from Linnæus, de Candolle, etc.]
John Gerard's herbal p1John Gerard
click image to access hi res PDF

It would be another 150 years before Linnæus standardized the genus with his binomial system in Species Plantarum (1753) listing eight species from both Europe and North America:
Species Plantarum 1
Species%20Plantarum%20Linnaeus
click image to access hi res PDF

What Viburnums Are On Campus?

click plant names for species/cultivar information and images

   Maxwell Arboretum Collection 
Agronomy/Hort Plantings
Other Campus Viburnums

Viburnum × burkwoodii       

Burkwood Viburnum

 

Viburnum × burkwoodii 'Mokawk'

Mohawk Burkwood Viburnum

 

Viburnum carlesii

Koreanspice Viburnum

 

Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora'

Aurora Koreanspice Viburnum

 

Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum'

Compactum Koreanspice Viburnum

 

Viburnum dentatum 'Synnesvedt'

Chicago Lustre® Arrowwood Viburnum

 

Viburnum dentatum var. dentatum

Southern Arrowwood Viburnum

 

Viburnum dilatatum

Linden Viburnum

 

Viburnum dilatatum 'Erie'

Erie Linden Viburnum

 

Viburnum × 'Emerald Triumph'

Emerald Triumph Viburnum

 

Viburnum × juddii

Judd Viburnum

 

Viburnum lantana

Wayfaringtree Viburnum

 

Viburnum lantana 'Mohican'

Mohican Wayfaringtree Viburnum

 

Viburnum lentago

Nannyberry Viburnum

 

Viburnum nudum

Smooth Witherod Viburnum

 

Viburnum opulus

European Cranberrybush Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Mariesii'

Maresii Doublefile Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Shasta'

Shasta Doublefile Viburnum

 

Viburnum prunifolium

Blackhaw Viburnum

 

Viburnum prunifolium 'Summer Magic'

Summer Magic Blackhaw Viburnum

 

Viburnum × rhytidophylloides 'Alleghany'

Alleghany Lantanaphyllum Viburnum

 

Viburnum × rhytidophylloides 'Willowwood'

Willowwood Lantanaphyllum Viburnum

 

Viburnum rufidulum

Southern or Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum

 

Viburnum sargentii

Sargent Viburnum

 

Viburnum sieboldii

Siebold Viburnum

 

Viburnum sieboldii  'Seneca'

Seneca Siebold Viburnum

 

Viburnum trilobum 'Wentworth'

Wentworth American Cranberrybush Viburnum

Viburnum × carlcephalum 'Chesapeake'

Chesapeake Fragrant Viburnum

 

Viburnum carlesii

Koreanspice Viburnum

 

Viburnum dentatum 'Christom'

BLUE MUFFIN® Arrowwood Viburnum

 

Viburnum dilatatum  'Asian Beauty'

Asian Beauty Linden Viburnum

 

Viburnum opulus var. americanum 'Hahs'

Hahs American Cranberrybush Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum 'Mary Milton'

Mary Milton Japanese Snowball  Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Igloo'

Igloo Doublefile Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Lanarth'

Lanarth Doublefile Viburnum

 

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Summer Snowflake'

Summer Snowflake Doublefile Viburnum

 

Viburnum × pragense

Prague Viburnum

 

Viburnum setigerum

Tea Viburnum















































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