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VIBURNUM cassinoides

Image of Viburnum cassinoides

Jesse Saylor

Family

Caprifoliaceae

Botanical Name

VIBURNUM cassinoides

Plant Common Name

Appalachian Tea Tree, Swamp Blackhaw, Swamp Viburnum, Wild Raisin, Witherod Viburnum

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Numerous common names exist for the Appalachian tea tree, one of northeastern North America's most ornamental native shrubs. Not only are the white flower clusters pretty in spring, but the ensuing berry clusters and fall foliage ranges in numerous colors. As early as the 1760s, Europeans recognized the landscape potential of this suckering deciduous shrub, soon taking it back to England to fill gardens. It's also known as “witherod” viburnum, an Old English term that refers to this shrub's flexible stems. This viburnum's silhouette is upright but spreading, forming a rounded outline.

Newly emerging leaves in very early spring have an alluring coppery or brown-purple sheen. Frosts do not harm the early-to-sprout foliage. As the leaves mature to their tapered oval shape, they become a duller medium green. Depending on climate, witherod viburnum blooms in late spring to just after the summer solstice. The white flowers occur in flat, ball-like clusters. Each flower has prominent yellow stamens. After insects pollinate the blooms, the fruit cluster dazzles the eye. The small round berries change from pink, rose, sky blue and dark blue en route to autumn. In addition, the leaves turn a haphazard blend of yellow, orange, red and purple in fall before dropping away.

Grow witherod viburnum in full sun to partial shade in any moist, well-drained to average soil that's not alkaline. In hot summer areas, site the shrub in more shade, or ensure the soil is consistently moist. Flowering and fruiting is more abundant in sunnier sites. Multiple shrubs also increase the chance for cross-pollination and prolific berry production. Plant witherod viburnum in woodland gardens, a mixed border or naturalistic massed groups.

Numerous cultivars exist of this viburnum, mainly with more compact habits or smaller-maturing sizes. These are more conducive for growing in gardens with limited space or more formalized planting designs. Some cultivars may actually be hybrids with the closely related smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum).

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6'-15' / 1.8m - 4.6m

  • Width

    5'-12' / 1.5m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Blue, Pink, Light Pink, Black

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Multi-Color, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green, Burgundy, Copper

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gold, Orange Red

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes