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European cranberry-bush viburnum is an attractive shrub with multi-season, but it has become an invasive plant in some states and is not recommended. The similar, native American cranberry-bush viburnum (Viburnum opulus var. americanum) is a more recommended substitute. It has the same ornamental features and is native to North America.

  • Family (English) Elderberry
  • Family (botanic) Adoxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range 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 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Wet sites
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Arching, Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate


This shrub grows 8 to 12 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide and is not recommended because of its invasive tendencies.

Native geographic location and habitat:

They are native to Europe and Asia and are found in wet, swampy sites.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are simple, growing in opposite pairs. They are dark green with three lobes (somewhat maple-like) that turn red or red-purple in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are white lace cap type clusters and consist of small fertile flowers surrounded by showy sterile flowers.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

This tree produces red berry-like fruits (drupes) resembling cranberries which are edible.


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