TREES & plants

Siebold viburnum

This large shrub or small tree has glossy dark green leaves with toothed edges. In May it has creamy-white flowers that are followed by berries. The leaves, which sometimes turn burgundy in fall, have an unpleasant odor when crushed. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name: 
Viburnum sieboldii
All Common Names: 
Siebold viburnum
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
  • Screen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Size Range: 
  • Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • 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 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Round
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size and Form

The species has the potential to grow 15 to 20 feet high, but may be shorter in the landscape if pruned regularly.

Tree & Plant Care

This plant is difficult to locate in nurseries.
Prune after flowering in spring.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious diseases or pests.
Scorch may be a problem in dry sites.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan.

Bark color and texture 

The gray bark is broken in small plates resembling alligator skin.

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

Simple leaves arranged in pairs (opposite), 3 to 5 inches long with a toothed margins and deeply impressed veins.  Leaves are dark green in summer and may pick up some red-purple color in the fall.  Some cultivars have been selected for improved fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, creamy white flowers in a loose, open, slightly domed cluster. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The fruit is clusters of small berry-like drupes, changing color from green to to red to nearly black.

Cultivars and their differences

Ironclad (Viburnum sieboldii 'KLMfour'):  This cultivar flowers more heavily and has more reliable burgundy fall color.

Wavecrest (Viburnum sieboldii 'Wavecrest'):  Another cultivar with improved flowering and fruit production.  Brick-red fall color.