Northern Ontario Plant Database
Viburnum lantanoides Michx.
En: hobblebush, alderleaf viburnum, witch hobble, moosewood, tangle-legs, American wayfaringtree
Adoxaceae (Viburnum Family)
General: A sprawling, deciduous shrub, rarely more than 2 m tall, with lower branches lying close to the ground and rooting at the nodes. Bark grayish to purplish brown; young twigs and naked buds rough-textured (scurfy), covered with cinnamon brown scales; older twigs smooth to warty.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, pinnately-veined, petiolate. Leaf blades broadly ovate to rounded (orbicular), 10–20 cm long and wide; upper surface dark green, dull, coarse-textured, paler beneath and prominently-veined; blades cinnamon brown-scurfy when young, but smoother at maturity; the base rounded to cordate; apex abruptly pointed (acuminate); margins toothed (serrate); petiole 1–6 cm long, scurfy.
Flowers: Bisexual, white to pinkish, arranged in large flat-topped terminal clusters (cymes), to 15 cm across; marginal flowers of the inflorescence sterile and showy, with flat, 5-lobed corollas, to 2.5 cm wide; inner flowers fertile, with much smaller corollas. Calyx small, inconspicuous; corolla of inner fertile flowers with 5 small lobes; stamens 5, shorter than the corolla lobes; pistil 1, the ovary inferior. Flowers bloom in June.
Fruit: Small ellipsoid berry-like drupes, smooth, to 9 mm long; the fruits change colour from pale green to red to purplish-black at maturity. Fruits mature in late summer.
Habitat and Range: Cool damp woods, thickets, and shaded ravines. Hobblebush is native to temperate eastern North America. In Ontario, hobblebush is found between Lake Ontario and 47° N latitude, it is most common in southeastern Ontario and its range extends to a bit north of Lake Nipissing (Soper & Heimburger 1982).
Nomenclatural Notes: Often mistakenly listed as Viburnum alnifolium Marshall (1785) in field guides and text, this name is actually a synonym of Hydrangea arborescens L., the tree Hydrangea, and is not a Viburnum at all (GRIN Database). The former Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family) has been split into several new families, including the Adoxaceae (Adoxa, Sambucus, Viburnum), Diervillaceae (Diervilla, Weigela), and Linnaeaceae (Linnaea, Abelia, and Kolkwitzia). The new Caprifoliaceae includes only the genera Lonicera (honeysuckles), Symphoricarpos (snowberry), and Triosteum (horse-gentian). For up-to-date information on nomenclatural changes at the family level, see the Missouri Botanical Garden's Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.
Internet Images: The Viburnum lantanoides webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.
The Viburnum lantanoides webpage from the Virginia Tech Dendrology website.
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