Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
By Keith Williamson, CCNP
Little Valley Wholesale Nursery
Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) is a medium sized shrub that is native to North America from Maine to Florida, and as far west as eastern Texas. The common name of arrowwood viburnum came about from the use of its straight young stems by Native Americans for making arrow shafts.
In the garden, arrowwood viburnum has many features that combine to make it an exceptional landscape plant. First of all, its growth habit is as a rounded to upright-rounded shrub that will grow six to eight feet tall at maturity, with a comparable width. The leaves that clothe the stems are a dark and rich, glossy green, with an attractive, veined texture and serrated margins. With the onset of autumn weather, the leaves change color from dark green to yellow, bronze and burgundy red.
Another delightful aspect of arrowwood viburnum is that it is a flowering shrub, producing large, slightly domed clusters of tiny white blossoms in mid- to late spring. From the flowers are borne attractive, large open clusters of dark blue to blue-black berries which stand out above the foliage in late summer. These berries are a minor food source for birds, and help to attract them to the landscape upon ripening.
Arrowwood viburnum is adaptable to a wide range of conditions, which is also useful, considering the variety to be found in Colorado. It prefers moderate moisture, but can tolerate drier conditions for short periods. It also grows well in light conditions ranging from filtered shade to full sun, and will survive in protected locations at elevations as high as 8,000 feet.
With its winning combination of colors, blooms, fruit and adaptability, the arrowwood viburnum is destined to make a gardener happy to have included it in their plant palette.
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