Shrub 1 - 5 m tall Leaves: opposite, stalked, 5 - 10 cm long, as wide or wider, three-lobed, maple-like, base rounded to truncate (cut straight across), lobes pointed, coarsely toothed, palmately veined, slightly hairy on the lower surface. Leaf stalks 1 - 3 cm long, with one to six large glands near the top. Glands mostly stalkless, wider than tall, and concave at the top. Flowers: in branched clusters (cymes). Cymes terminal, flat-topped, 5 - 10 cm wide, with large sterile flowers surrounding much smaller fertile flowers. Fertile flowers five-lobed, white, to 5 mm wide, tubular, sparsely hairy inside. Stamens five, exserted from the corolla. Filaments white. Anthers tan to yellow. Stigma three-lobed. Sterile flowers marginal, five-lobed, white, 1.5 - 2.5 cm wide, slightly irregular. Fruit: berry-like (drupe), in clusters, bright red, 10 - 15 mm wide, rounded, single-seeded. Twigs: stout, ribbed. Form: rounded.
Similar species: Another variety found in the Chicago Region, var. americanum, differs by having stalked glands on the leaf stalks that are mostly taller than wide and that are round on top. Viburnum acerifolium and V. acerifolium var. ovatum are also similar but have slightly hairy branchlets, purplish black mature drupes, and dots on the leaf undersides.
Flowering: mid-May to early June
Habitat and ecology: An ornamental introduced from Europe. Found in woods and thickets.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-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. Opulus is the Latin word for a type of Maple.