Shrub to 4 m tall Leaves: opposite, stalked, dull green, 5 - 12 cm long, egg-shaped to lance-shaped with a rounded to tapering base and short-pointed tip, finely round-toothed to wavy along the margins, thick, sometimes brown-hairy beneath. Leaf stalks 5 - 15 mm long. Flowers: in branched clusters (cymes). Cymes flat-topped, about 10 cm wide, on 5 mm - 5 cm long stalks. Corolla five-lobed, white, about 6 mm wide. Stamens five, exserted from the corolla. Anthers yellow. Stigma three-lobed. Fruit: berry-like (drupe), in clusters, bluish black with a waxy coating (glaucous), 6 - 12 mm wide, egg-shaped to rounded, single-seeded. Twigs: smooth or brown-scaly when young. Winter buds yellowish brown. Form: rounded.
Similar species: Viburnum lantana is similar but has star-shaped hairs on the leaf undersides. Viburnum prunifolium and V. lentago are also similar, but they have stalkless or nearly stalkless cymes (cymes rarely to 5 mm long).
Flowering: May to July
Habitat and ecology: Typical of wet woods and swamps, but rare in the Chicago Region.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Notes: About 200 species of Viburnum occur between North America, Europe and Asia. Many are ornamental shrubs cultivated for their showy flowers, autumn foliage, and attraction to wildlife.
Etymology: Viburnum is the Latin word for the Wayfaring tree. Nudum means naked, nude, or bare. Cassinoides means "resembling Ilex cassine," which is a species of holly.
Lvs dull, firmer than in var. nudum, indistinctly veiny, ovate to lanceolate or oblanceolate, tending to be bluntly short-acuminate, rounded to tapering at base, crenulate, varying to seldom entire; winter-buds yellow-brown or golden; peduncles 5-25 mm, avg 13 mm at anthesis; drupe with elliptic or oblong- elliptic stone and sweet pulp; more northern, extending s. mainly in the mts. to N.C., Ga., and Ala. (V. cassinoides)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.