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TREES & plants

Korean spice viburnum

Korean spice viburnum is a practical choice for the landscape as specimen, in a shrub border, and as a foundation plant, but is also planted for its ornamental characteristics.  Its most notable characteristic is the semi-snowball shaped white flowers that cover the shrub.  They have a pink blush and outstanding fragrance.  It also has a wine-red fall color and bears red to black-colored fruits.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum carlesii
All Common Names: 
Korean spice viburnum
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Foundation
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Late spring
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 


4 to 8 feet high and wide

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity

Disease, pests, and problems

Viburnum crown borer

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Korea

Bark color and texture 

Older stems are gray in color and tend to show light fissuring of the bark

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite) on the twigs; gray green in color and rough to the touch
Fall color is wine red

Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)photo: John Hagstrom

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small white flowers in a semi-snowball shaped cluster; flower buds are pink when closed

Very fragrant

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

This shrub yields red to black fruit, but often the quantity produced is low.