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TREES & Plants

Black-haw

Black-haw is a native viburnum that can be a large shrub or a small tree.  It is a multi-season plant, offering white flowers in spring, and fruits and good color in autumn.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum prunifolium
All Common Names: 
Black-haw, Blackhaw, Blackhaw viburnum
Family (English): 
Elderberry
Family (Botanic): 
Adoxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area
  • Illinois
  • North America
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
  • Clay soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • White
Size Range: 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Round
  • Upright
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
More Information: 

Size

12 to 15 feet high and 8 to 12 feet wide

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 5

Attracts birds & butterflies

Provides food and shelter to 30+ species of birds, including thrushes, jays, catbirds, grosbeak and redpoll

Bark color and texture 

Bark is brownish black and broken into a blocky pattern

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite)

Bright green in summer, turning red in autumn

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, creamy white flowers in flat-topped to slightly domed clusters

Only slightly fragrant

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Black-haw (Viburnum prunifolium)Black-haw fruitphoto: John Hagstrom

Berry-like fruits (drupes) tuning to dark blue or black