The Morton Arboretum logo

TREES & plants

European cranberry-bush viburnum (not recommended)

Leaves and fruit of European cranberry-bush viburnum.

European crabberry-bush viburnum is an attractive, multi-season interest shrub, but it has become an invasive plant in some states and is not recommended.  The similar, native  American cranberry-bush viburnum  (Vibrunum opulus var. americanum) is a more recommended substitute.  It has the same ornamental features and is native to North America.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum opulus var. opulus (syn. Viburnum opulus)
All Common Names: 
European cranberry-bush, European cranberry-bush viburnum, Wuropean cranberrybush viburnum
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Wet soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Spreading
  • Thicket-forming
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 


8 to 12 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide
This plant is not recommended because of its invasive tendencies.

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering
May need to remove stems to control suckering

Disease, pests, and problems

Viburnum crown borer and viburnum leaf beetle are possible problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Europe and Asia

Found in wet, swampy sites

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite)

Dark green, three lobed leaves (somewhat maple-like)

Fall color is red or red-purple

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Lace cap type flower clusters (small, fertile flowers surrounded by showy, sterile flowers); white

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Red, berry-like fruits (drupes) resembling cranberries; edible