What Is an Arrowwood Viburnum?

B. Turner

Arrowwood viburnum is a flowering shrub that belongs to the same family of plants as the honeysuckle bush or vine. It comes in many different varieties, which vary based on climate zone and temperature range within a region. Arrowwood viburnum grows in almost any kind of weather, and is common to the entire eastern United States and Canada. It's best known for its vast size and rapid growth, as well as its arching form. This shrub can also be identified by its large, white flowers and dark purple berries.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Left untended, arrowwood viburnum can grow as tall as 15 feet (4.6 m) in the wild. Its true height can be hard to detect, as this plant eventually grows so tall that it begins to spread out to the sides, forming an arch-like structure. While this type of growth won't hurt the arrowwood viburnum itself, it can be detrimental to nearby plants because it cuts off access to sunlight. Gardeners who grow this species should keep it trimmed to protect other plants within the garden.

Arrowwood viburnum grows effectively in moist soils with sufficient drainage, but also grows surprisingly well in rocky clay soil as long as drainage is adequate. It faces few problems with pests, and requires little to no chemical pesticide in most areas. This plant grows equally well in full sun or partial shade.

The arrowwood viburnum gets its name from its arrow-straight branches, and many believe that the name of this plant dates back to early Native American tribes. The bark of this shrub features a unique gray and brown coloring, and is heavily speckled and rough with texture. The leaves of the plant vary in appearance, but are generally much rounder than they are tapered. They are dark green in color, with very sharply serrated edges. In the fall, the leaves can develop into many colors, including reds, purples, and yellows, depending on the climate zone where the plant is located.

The flowers of this plant feature a clean, white or cream coloring. They emerge in the late spring, and generally grow in clusters rather than individually. Arrowwood viburnum flowers are broad and very flat along the face. The berries on this plant emerge rapidly in the spring and summer, developing a deep purple or dark blue hue. Birds and other animals often decimate the berries very quickly, so they are difficult to spot unless one searches at the right time.

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