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TREES & plants

Southern Black-Haw

Southern Black-Haw is an attractive large shrub or small tree with glossy foliage and white flowers in mid-spring. In fall, female plants have dark blue berries. The foliage is often rich burgundy in fall. Native to the mid-South, this shrub nonetheless has done well in the Chicago region.

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


Botanical name: 
Viburnum rufidulum
All Common Names: 
Southern black-haw, rusty black-haw, southern blackhaw, rusty blackhaw
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • 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 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Irregular
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 


10 to 20 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering. 
Root suckers may need to be removed to minimize the width of the plant.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Southern US.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Glossy, leathery dark green oval leaves turn burgundy in autumn. They are arranged in pairs (opposite) along the branches.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Broad clusters of small creamy-white flowers in mid-spring.  Flowers have little to no fragrance.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

This plant yields shiny, blue-black fruit.

Cultivars and their differences 

Emerald Charm  (Viburnum rufidulum 'Morton'):   More compact, growing only 10 to 12 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide.  Dark glossy green foliage turns burgundy in the fall.  Good cold hardiness.

Southern black-haw (Viburnum rufidulum)Southern black-haw Emerald Charmphoto: John Hagstrom