This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Southern blackhaw: Viburnum rufidulum

The cranky old guy at the nursery off Taylor Rd insisted it was Viburnum prunifolium, but the label begged to differ. I believe the label. Native to more southern parts of the eastern U.S., V. rufidulum is an attractive plant and vigorous grower. It is closely-related and similar to V.p., but it flowers a bit later and is less 'stiffy' in habit -- assuming the ones in my garden are typical representatives.

By now I expect I've lost my readers. I'll try again. There is a species of viburnum called Viburnum prunifolium. The specific epithet suggests the leaves are 'cherry-like.' True! Its native range squeaks into the very southern part of Michigan. The flower clusters are white and lack fragrance. Its shiny clean leaves and ease of cultivation make it a good candidate for a screen. Also it sends up suckers, so from one plant you can make many. Fun! Common name: black-haw.

V. rufidulum flowers
A little south, but overlapping in range, is the southern black-haw, Viburnum rufidulum. I stumbled upon it at the nursery referred to above. It is a little different and it, too, is a worthy species for the landscape (though unfortunately lacking the wonderful fragrance of other viburnums).

The fruit of V. rufidulum you can eat. It tastes prune-y. In fact it tastes just like the fruit of yet another species of viburnum, the nannyberry (V. lentago). says that these two species are closely related and sometimes hard to distinguish from each other. So now are you confused? I'm not because I've got all three growing within spitting distance. I love the viburnums.


  1. You just gave me a great idea for filling a spot in the back. Thanks!

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