TREES & plants

Leatherleaf viburnum

Leatherleaf viburnum is an evergreen shrub, but in northern climates the evergreen leaves may be damaged by winter.  While the creamy white flowers light up the spring landscape, this species offers no fall color change and very little fruiting.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
All Common Names: 
Leatherleaf viburnum
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Evergreen (foliage year-round)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early winter
  • Mid winter
  • Late winter
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 


10 to 15 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Site in a protected area to avoid damage to evergreen foliage.
Prune after flowering.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious pest problems.  Evergreen leaves are prone to winter damage.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum)Leatherleaf viburnum leavesphoto: John Hagstrom

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); leathery and evergreen with a wrinkled,  textured appearance.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, creamy white flowers in flat-topped to slightly domed clusters, with a slight fragrance.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Berry-like fruit (drupes), red maturing to black.