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.
- Mixed border
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Compact tree (10-15 feet)
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Mid spring
- Mid fall
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 texturephoto: 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
Wavecrest (Viburnum sieboldii 'Wavecrest'): Another cultivar with improved flowering and fruit production. Brick-red fall color.