Tall shrub or small tree to 10 m tall Leaves: opposite, stalked, 5 - 8 cm long, half as wide, egg-shaped to oblong with broadly tapering to rounded base and long-pointed tip, sharply toothed (six to ten teeth per centimeter). Leaf stalks 1 - 2 cm long, often wavy-winged along the margins. Flowers: in branched, rounded clusters (cymes). Cymes stalkless or nearly so, three- to seven-rayed, 5 - 10 mm long. Corolla five-lobed, white, 4 - 8 mm wide, lobes pointed. Stamens five, exserted from the corolla. Anthers yellow. Stigma three-lobed. Fruit: berry-like (drupe), in clusters, bluish black with a whitish bloom, 8 - 15 mm wide, elliptical to rounded, single-seeded. Twigs: slender, grayish brown, sometimes slightly hairy. Form: rounded with arching branches.
Similar species: Viburnum lantana is similar but covered with star-shaped hairs. Viburnum prunifolium is also similar but differs by having blunt to pointed leaf tips and leaf stalks without wavy margins. Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides differs by having cymes on 5 mm - 5 cm long stalks.
Flowering: late April to early June
Habitat and ecology: Frequent in moist woods. Also found along woodland edges, fencerows, and roads.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Notes: About 200 species of Viburnum occur between North America, Europe and Asia. Many are ornamental shrubs cultivated for their showy flowers, autumn foliage, and attraction to wildlife.
Etymology: Viburnum is the Latin word for the Wayfaring tree. Lentago means "tough yet pliable."
Tall shrub or small tree to 10 m, glabrous throughout or minutely scurfy on the infl or petioles; petioles 1-2 cm, some or all irregularly wing- margined; lvs ovate to oblong or orbicular, 5-8 cm, some or all sharply acuminate, sharply serrulate, the teeth 6-10 per cm of margin, often incurved and callous-tipped; cymes sessile, 5-10 cm wide, with 3-5(7) rays; cor 4-8 mm wide, the lobes acute; fr blue-black with a whitish bloom, ellipsoid to subglobose, 8-15 mm, with sweet pulp; stone flat, nearly smooth; 2n=18. Woods and roadsides; Que. to se. Sask. and sc. Mont., s. to N.J., Va., Ill., Mo., Nebr., Wyo. and Colo. May, June.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
Rather frequent in the lake area and occasional in boggy places south of it. It has been reported from the southern part of the state but I believe all or at least most of the reports should be referred to Viburnum prunifolium. This species is difficult for some to distinguish from Viburnum prurnifolium. Most of the southern reports say that the specimens were found in dry woods which is not the habitat of this species. I have seen it only in wet woods and springy places. In 1923, I measured a specimen in the Clarence Tumm woods 7 miles east of Michigan City that was 16.5 inches in circumference at 40 inches above the ground, and was 20 feet high.