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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 267. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
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Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/4/2009)


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5. Viburnum L. (viburnum, blackhaw, arrowwood)

Plants shrubs or small trees. First-year twigs 1–3 mm thick, the pith solid. Winter buds various, appearing naked or more commonly with 2 valvate (the margins touching but not overlapping) or 4 overlapping scales. Leaves with short or relatively long, unwinged or narrowly winged petioles, none perfoliate. Stipules absent or present, if present then 2–10 mm long, usually slender, sometimes partially fused to the basal portion of the petiole. Leaf blades simple, elliptic, oblong, ovate, or almost circular, the margins finely to coarsely toothed (3-lobed in V. opulus). Flowers in dense, flat-topped panicles, usually appearing as compound umbels, terminal on the branches, occasionally reduced to a loose, umbellate cluster, the branch points with small, linear to narrowly triangular bracts that are mostly shed by flowering, the individual flowers usually subtended by minute, paired bractlets that are mostly shed early in flower development. Calyx lobes 0.3–3.0 mm long, variously shaped. Corollas of the marginal (sterile) flowers of the inflorescence sometimes enlarged and slightly zygomorphic, those of the fertile flowers 2–4 mm long, actinomorphic, more or less saucer-shaped or rarely somewhat bell-shaped with a broadly cup-shaped tube 1–2 mm long and a spreading, (4)5-lobed portion 3–8 mm in diameter (measured across the top of the flower), the lobes rounded, white, sometimes fading to pale yellow. Style absent or nearly so, the ovary often broadly conical-tapered at the tip, the deeply 3-lobed stigma appearing sessile. Fruits berrylike drupes, more or less spherical to more commonly oblong-ellipsoid, red to bluish black. Nutlet 1, 6–11 mm long, oblong-ovate to elliptic in outline, flattened, one or both sides often ridged or with a pair of longitudinal grooves, sometimes appearing longitudinally folded, the surface variously smooth to somewhat warty, yellowish brown to reddish brown or nearly black. About 175 species, North America to South America, Europe, Asia to Java.

Species of Viburnum are important for wildlife food, and the fruits of some species also have been eaten by man, raw, cooked, or processed into preserves and jellies. Many Asian species of Viburnum have been introduced into horticulture, and several have been reported to escape in states to the east of us. However, only two Old World species, V. lantana and V. opulus, are known to have become established in Missouri. Some of the native species are planted widely as well, and they sometimes escape in areas outside their native ranges.

The sections of Viburnum are well defined (at least in Missouri), but the species within the sections often are difficult to distinguish. For this reason, the sections are noted in the key to species below. Users should note that leaf descriptions in the species treatments below apply to most of the stems on a given plant, including flowering/fruiting stems. However, leaves of vigorous leading shoots, rapidly elongating root suckers, or juvenile plants sometimes differ strikingly in their longer, narrower, and more acute appearance, often with fewer veins and fewer, smaller marginal teeth.


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1 1. Leaves lobed; marginal flowers of the inflorescence sterile, their corollas greatly enlarged, somewhat zygomorphic (section Opulus DC.) ... 5. V. OPULUS

Viburnum opulus
2 1. Leaves unlobed; marginal flowers of the inflorescence fertile, similar in size and appearance to the more centrally positioned flowers

3 2. Secondary veins curved or arched toward the tip, looping and joined into a network with adjacent veins, not reaching the leaf margin; leaf blades with the undersurface glabrous or with red, woolly hairs, the margins with 5–11 small teeth per cm; winter buds with 1 pair of scales, these valvate (with the margins touching but not overlapping) (section Lentago DC.)

4 3. Petioles with well-developed, undulate or irregularly curled wings; leaf blades abruptly contracted to a slender, long-tapered tip ... 3. V. LENTAGO

Viburnum lentago
5 3. Petioles with moderately well or more commonly poorly developed, narrow, straight (not undulate or curled) wings; leaf blades rounded or broadly angled to a usually bluntly pointed tip, or contracted to a short-tapered or rarely longer-tapered, sharply pointed tip

6 4. Petioles, main veins of the leaf undersurface, and winter buds glabrous or with sparse, red, stellate hairs; leaf blades relatively thin and papery, the upper surface dull ... 7. V. PRUNIFOLIUM

Viburnum prunifolium
7 4. Petioles, main veins of the leaf undersurface, and winter buds densely pubescent with minute, red to reddish brown, branched, woolly hairs; leaf blades relatively thick and somewhat leathery, the upper surface shiny ... 10. V. RUFIDULUM

Viburnum rufidulum
8 2. Secondary veins relatively straight above the base, usually branched, extending to the leaf margin without looping or joining, each branch ending in a tooth; leaf blades with the undersurface glabrous or with white or gray hairs, the margins variously densely or sparsely toothed; winter buds naked (lacking scales) or with 2 pairs of overlapping scales

9 5. Leaves with the petiole and undersurface densely pubescent with small, gray, stellate hairs, the margins with (3–)5–15 small teeth per cm; winter buds naked (lacking scales); fruits red, sometimes turning dark bluish purple with age (section Viburnum) ... 2. V. LANTANA

Viburnum lantana
10 5. Leaves with the petiole and undersurface glabrous or pubescent with all or mostly unbranched hairs, the margins with 1–3 relatively large teeth per cm; winter buds with 2 pairs of overlapping scales; fruits bluish black (section Odontotinus Rehder)

11 6. Leaf blades mostly deeply cordate at the base, the margins with 18–35 teeth on each side; petioles glabrous or with sparse to moderate minute, stalked glands; bark peeling in papery sheets ... 4. V. MOLLE

Viburnum molle
12 6. Leaf blades rounded to truncate or shallowly cordate at the base, the margins with 7–25 teeth on each side; petioles hairy, at least in and around the ventral groove; bark smooth or fissured (rarely peeling in V. rafinesquianum)

13 7. Petioles 3–15(–22) mm long; leaf blades with 7–17 teeth on each side of the margin, usually with 3–5 main veins from the base, the lateral veins otherwise usually relatively evenly distributed along midvein; ovaries densely glandular at flowering; bark peeling or not

14 8. Leaf blades 6–10(–14) cm wide, with (10–)12–17 teeth on each side of the margin. Bark not peeling, smooth or appearing somewhat roughened or warty, not fissured ... 6. V. OZARKENSE

Viburnum ozarkense
15 8. Leaf blades 3–7 cm wide, with 7–12(–14) teeth on each side of the margin; bark on young stems firm, sometimes peeling in papery sheets, becoming fissured on older stems ... 8. V. RAFINESQUIANUM

Viburnum rafinesqueanum
16 7. Petioles 16–36 mm long; leaf blades with 12–25 teeth on each side of the margin, usually with 3 or 4 secondary veins on each side crowded near the base of midvein; ovaries glabrous or sparsely glandular at flowering; bark not peeling

17 9. Petioles moderately to densely hairy, especially on the upper surface; leaf blades with both surfaces hairy along the veins and on the tissue between the veins; inflorescence branches hairy and glandular ... 1. V. DENTATUM

Viburnum dentatum
18 9. Petioles glabrous or with scattered hairs along the ventral groove; leaf blades with the upper surface glabrous (rarely with scattered hairs), the undersurface hairy only along the main veins and in small patches in the axils of the veins; inflorescence branches glabrous, sometimes glandular ... 9. V. RECOGNITUM Viburnum recognitum
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