TREES & plants


Lustrous elliptical leaves and white flowers of Witherod viburnum

Witherod viburnum is a large, upright-spreading, suckering shrub, native to North America.  It tolerates both shady and wet sites, excellent for shrub borders, naturalizing and woodland sites.  It may be difficult to find in nurseries.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum cassinoides
All Common Names: 
Witherod, Witherod viburnum, Swamp viburnum, Appalachian tea viburnum, wild raisin
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • North America
Landscape Uses: 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil, 
  • Wet soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early fall, 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Arching, 
  • Multi-stemmed, 
  • Round
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow, 
  • Moderate
More Information: 

Size & form

A dense compact suckering shrub grows 6 to 15 feet high and wide

Often confused with Viburnum nudum

Tree & Plant Care

Grows in part shade, tolerant of full sun with adequate soil moisture
Prefers wet, acidic sites, but will tolerate moist, well-drained soil
Prune after flowering

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to the Northeastern United States and states along the Gulf Coast
Often found in bogs and swamps

Bark color and texture 

Smooth, gray-brown bark dotted with lenticels

Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides)Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite; simple 3 to 4 inch long, elliptical leaves witshort pointed tips and fine serrated teeth margins.
Medium green, latt finish with rust-colored dots along mid-rib and leaf base.
Fall color ranges from orange to red to purple

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small creamy white flowers in flat-topped to domed clusters
Unpleasantly scented

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Berry like fruit changing from green to yellow, then pink, red and black.
All colors may be present in the same fruit cluster
Fruit tends to persist through much of fall

Related species and their differences

Possum-Haw or Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum): A dense, 8 to 12 foot high shrub with upright, arching stems, Leaf surface has a waxy, shiny,  flat-topped, white flower clusters are followed by colorful, green to pink to blue fruit. Excellent reddish-purple fall color. It is native to low woods, swamps and bog areas if eastern and southeastern U.S..



Viburnum cassinoides or Witherod