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Viburnum opulus var. americanum

American cranberrybush add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: neutral, rich, loam

Height: 6'-12'

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6

Additional Tags: attracts birds, attracts butterflies, berries, edible, fall interest, fragrant flowers, hedging plant, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, showy fruit, stream margin plant, woodland plant

Viburnum opulus  var. americanum (American cranberrybush)
  • Viburnum opulus  var. americanum (American cranberrybush)
  • Viburnum opulus  var. americanum (American cranberrybush)
  • Viburnum opulus  var. americanum (American cranberrybush)
  • Viburnum opulus  var. americanum (American cranberrybush)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Viburnum opulus var. americanum

Also known as:

American cranberrybush

,

highbush cranberry

,

cranberry viburnum

,

cranberrybush viburnum

,

marsh elder

Scientific Synonyms:

Viburnum trilobum

Description

Viburnum opulus var. americanum is an attractive deciduous, ornamental shrub, with maple-like foliage. The leaves produce good fall colors in shades of red to purple. It is well-rounded and medium-sized, typically topping off at 12' at maturity. The large flower clusters are white and lightly fragrant. These are followed by showy clusters of orange, to bright red edible berries. They are not widely consumed by wildlife and will often persist on the shrub well into winter.

Cultivation

This shrub prefers rich, moist to wet, well-drained soil, in filtered light to full sun. It shows poor tolerance of dry conditions. A good layer of compost around the base, will help preserve sufficient levels of soil moisture. This will also increase the soil's fertility thereby producing larger fruit yields. Plants can be pruned, and older canes can be removed if they become leggy. Viburnum opulus var. americanum can be used as a garden specimen, foundation plant, or grouped to create an informal hedge. Flowering times are from May to July. Zones 3-7

Propagation

Best propagated from softwood cuttings taken in spring. Propagation from seed is possible but slow. Germination can take up to 2 years after sowing. Stored seeds will require a period of cold stratification to break dormancy.

Additional Notes

The fruit is tart and sour, and best prepared as jelly, jam, juice, or sauce, rather than eaten raw. The berries will soften after being exposed to frost, also becoming sweeter and more palatable. This might help explain why the fruit persist on the plant well into winter before becoming a food source for birds and small mammals. This species has not been used for commercial fruit production. American cranberry, is a member of the Viburnum genus and Honeysuckle family, whereas true cranberries are members of the Vaccinium genus and Heath family.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: IN
  • Rare: PA
  • Threatened: OH

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Dipsacales
Family Caprifoliaceae Honeysuckle family
Genus Viburnum viburnum
Species Viburnum opulus var. americanum American cranberrybush