Until recently, this Viburnum shrub was an unappreciated plant in my garden. I think I was too busy planning graduation parties and attending dance recitals and parent/teacher conferences. No complaints about that stage of life, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
But because April, May, and June were always so busy, I didn't capture Viburnum opulus at its peak of beauty--when the inner florets were just breaking bud and sporting a soft peach tint.
The inner florets are fertile, and the outer florets are sterile, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. I believe the variety in my garden is V. opulus var. americanum. Its synonym is V. trilobum, according to the USDA Plants Database. Common names include American Cranberrybush or Highbush Cranberry.
A few facts about this shrub:
- Native to all of Canada and the lower 48 U.S. states, but now found mostly in the north (the European variety is very similar);
- Hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7;
- Prefers full sun to part shade (mine is in heavy shade);
- Low maintenance and medium watering requirements;
- Attracts birds and butterflies; and
- Grows to 8 to 12 feet tall, and to the same dimensions in its spread.
Even as the florets fully open and wash out to a more universal white color, the blooms form a pleasant, lacy arc above the foliage.
Though it fades into the green background during the summer months, if you look closely, the foliage is beautiful in its own right--Maple-shaped and deeply veined. The leaves capture precipitation in interesting patterns.
|Public Domain: USDA-NRCS Plants Database / Herman, D.E. et al. 1996.|
In the autumn, the foliage turns a reddish orange color, and bright red berries add autumn and winter interest (if the birds don't eat them first).
This shrub resides in an embarrassingly unkempt section of my garden that I hope to rearrange and replant next fall or spring. Still, this Viburnum adds a touch of grace to even the most informal garden.
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