Viburnums

Native Shrubs ... in wildlife landscaping

West Virginia Native Plant Society
West Virginia Nongame Wildlife Program

Wild Raisin (Appalachian Tea) - Viburnum cassinoides
Nannyberry (Sheepberry) - V. lentago
Rusty-Black Haw (Southern Black Haw)
- V. rufidulum
Roughish Arrowwood
- V. dentatum
Smooth Arrowwood
- V. recognitum
Cranberrytree (American Cranberrybush)
- V. trilobum

  Viburnum Family - Shrubs or small trees, deciduous, opposite, simple leaves that have smooth, toothed or lobed edges. White clusters of rounded or flat-topped flowers that mature into fruits (drupes) of flesh enclosing a single stonelike seed. Fruits mature in late summer or fall.
  Form: Wild Raisin - Dense or straggling shrub to 15 feet tall with arching branches.
Nannyberry - Small tree or shrub to 25 feet tall.
Rusty Black Haw - Small tree or shrub to 30 feet tall with spreading stems.
Roughish Arrowwood - Dense shrub to 10 feet tall.
Smooth Arrowwood - Dense shrub to 15 feet tall with numerous slender straight stems ("arrow shafts").
Cranberrytree - Open, spreading shrub to 15 feet tall.
  Bark and Twigs: Nannyberry - Bright red branchlets, buds covered by 2 scales.
Rusty Black Haw - Bark blackish, twigs densely red-brown and scurfy.
Roughish Arrowwood - Twigs velvety hairy.
Smooth Arrowwood - Twigs hairless.
  Leaves: Wild Raisin - Roundish to oval, smooth margins, turn to crimson or purple in fall.
Nannyberry - Pointed tips, sharply toothed margins, bright shiny green and smooth above, turn to purple-red in fall.
Rusty Black Haw - Leaf oval in shape, leathery, with fine teeth on margins. Densely red-brown scurfy beneath and red dotted.
Roughish Arrowwood - Coarsely toothed margins, prominent veins, densely soft hairy below, bright scurfy beneath and red dotted.
Smooth Arrowwood - Roundish with coarsely toothed margins, prominent veins, smooth above and below, bright red leaves in autumn.
Cranberrytree - Deeply 3-lobed, remains green or turns slightly yellow or red-purple in autumn.
  Flowers & Fruit: Wild Raisin - Creamy, white, flat-topped clusters of flowers in June or July maturing to showy fruits that are pink at first but become blue-black in early autumn.
Nannyberry - Similar clusters to Wild Raisin that flower earlier (May-June) and flower clusters are not stalked. Fruits also similar.
Rusty Black Haw - Small white clusters in April-May, flowers not showy.
Roughish Arrowwood - Flowers in showy, creamy white, flattened clusters (May-June). Fruits round and blue (Aug.-Nov.).
Smooth Arrowwood - Flowers in showy, white clusters on a long stalk (May-June). Fruits round, blue-black in color.
Cranberrytree - Flowers in showy, white clusters with an outside border of larger sterile flowers (May-July). Fruits are bright red, tart, and have a musky odor.
West Virginia Range:
Wild Raisin - Barbour, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Mineral, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur and Webster.
Nannyberry - Local in Grant, Hampshire, Pocahontas, Preston, Greenbrier, and Monroe.
Rusty Black Haw - Rare; Greenbrier.
Roughish Arrowwood - Rare; Braxton, Fayette, Mercer, Monroe, and Raleigh.
Smooth Arrowwood - Barbour, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Marion, Mercer, Mineral, Monongalia, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, and Upshur.
Cranberrytree - Rare; Tucker.
Natural Habitat:
Wild Raisin - Swamps and wet soils of mountains. Nannyberry - Woods and streambanks in rich moist and wet soils of mountains. Rusty Black Haw - Thickets. Roughish Arrowwood - Moist soils of woods and streambanks. Smooth Arrowwood - Moist and wet ground along streams in the mountains. Cranberrytree - Wet woods and along streams in Canaan Valley.
Wildlife Use:
Use of Viburnums for wildlife food is not great despite the fact that fruits and twigs are readily eaten. The fruits are eaten by deer, beaver, rabbit, chipmunks, squirrels, mice, skunks, grouse, turkey and most songbirds such as cardinal, cedar waxwing, robin, thrushes, and brown thrasher. Twigs, bark and leaves are consumed by deer and beaver.
Horticulture:
Uses: Borders, screens, small groups or specimen. Use as a specimen is limited because most Viburnums root sucker freely.
Light: Partial shade to full sunlight.
Soil Moisture: Wild Raisin and Nannyberry - Wide range. Rusty Black Haw and Roughish Arrowwood - Prefer moist well-drained soils. Smooth Arrowwood and Cranberrytree - Moist to wet soils.
Soil pH: Moderately acid to slightly alkaline.
Problems: Relatively free from serious insect and disease problems. Mildew is a common problem on Nannyberry but is easily controlled. Most Viburnums produce root suckers freely and will spread into adjacent areas.

Compiled by: William N. Grafton, naturalist, botanist and wildlife specialist, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Written by West Virginia Native Plant Society members and jointly published with the WV Nongame Program

Illustration from Flora of West Virginia, Strausbaugh and Core