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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.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum lantana
All Common Names: 
Wayfaring tree
Family (English): 
Elderberry
Family (Botanic): 
Adoxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Tree
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (foliage falls off)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Growth Rate: 
  • Medium
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
Tolerances: 
  • Dry sites
  • Occasional drought
  • Alkaline soil
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Size Range: 
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Round
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing
  • Hedge
  • Mixed border
Time of Year: 
  • Late spring
More Information: 

Size

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

  • Simple leaves in pairs (opposite); somewhat leathery in 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

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 several different plants 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.