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TREES & plants

Maple-leaved viburnum

The white flat-top flower and maple-like leaf of maple-leaved viburnum

Maple-leaved viburnum is a native, medium-sized under-story shrub, preferring shade and part shade conditions.  It makes it a great option for naturalizing in shady areas. The  creamy-white, flat-topped flowers in May, black fruit in fall, persisting into winter, and excellent pink to dark burgundy fall color add year-round interest.

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

Botanical name: 
Viburnum acerifolium
All Common Names: 
Maple-leaved viburnum, Maple-leaved arrowwood, Mapleleaf viburnum, dockmackie
Family (English): 
Elderberry
Family (Botanic): 
Adoxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Screen
Size Range: 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Round, 
  • Thicket-forming
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size & Form

A loose, open, colony-forming shrub reaching 4 to 6 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Shade-loving, best in naturalizing as understory shrub.
Prefers loamy, organic, well-drained soils.
It may be difficult to locate in nurseries.
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Disease, pests, and problems

Aphids, scale and borers are potential problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 9
Commonly found in forests ridges, slopes and low areas.

Native to eastern and Midwest U.S. 

Bark color and texture

Smooth gray bark with prominent lenticels.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, simple,  5-inch long leaves in pairs;  generally 3-lobed, maple-like shape.
Fall color varies from yellow to pink to red to purple.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Creamy white, 5-petaled flowers in an upright,  flat-topped to slightly domed clusters in May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Black fruit in the fall persists into winter.

Viburnum acerifolium or Maple-leaved viburnum