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TREES & plants

Wayfaring tree

Wayfaring tree is often chosen for planting because of its adaptability and reliability. However, plants often appear ‘leggy,’ so they look better near the back of the border, in mass, or in groupings.  Wayfaring tree is also useful for naturalizing.  The plant’s handsome fruit are an outstanding feature, beginning yellow and changing to red and black, often displaying all three colors on the same cluster.

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


Botanical name: 
Viburnum lantana
All Common Names: 
Wayfaring tree
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Utility
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
  • Screen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Size Range: 
  • 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: 
  • Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
More Information: 


10 to 15 feet high and wide.

Tree & Plant Care

Prune after flowering.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Wayfaringtree (Viburnum lantana)Wayfaringtree (Viburnum lantana)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

The simple leaves in occur in pairs (opposite) and have a somewhat leathery appearance.
Dark green leaves seldom develop good fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, creamy white flowers in flat-topped to slightly-domed clusters in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Berry-like fruits (drupes) changing from yellow to red and black often with all color on the same cluster.
Fruiting is maximized when different cultivars are in close proximity.

Cultivars and their differences 

Mohican  (Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’:   This cultivar is more compact (8-10’) .    Thick, leathery, dark green leaves turn a purplish-red fall color.  Attractive orange-red fruit in early July maintains color for 4 weeks or more.