Well, when I saw we had a tornado warning here on national TV this am I figured I would finally get an — enforced — rest. But, of course, the sun came out and so did I, and caught this witherod viburnum, wild raisin, in full bloom. The hobblebush a few yards away that had been in full bloom late last week was completelyi finished blooming, showing you’ve got to be there when they’re ready. And, btw, with a little imagintion, these guys so sort of taste like raisins.
Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist loams, but tolerates a wide range of soils including boggy ones. For best cross-pollination and subsequent fruit display, plant shrubs in groups rather than as single specimens. Prune as needed in late fall or early spring.
Viburnum cassinoides is commonly called witherod viburnum. Withe (from Old English) means flexible twig and rod means slender shoot or stem. It is native primarily to northeastern North America (hence the occasional common name of northern witherod) where it is typically found in low woods, fields, swamps, marshes, pond peripheries and bogs. It is closely related to Viburnum nudum, and is sometimes designated as V. nudum var. cassenoides. V. nudum is primarily native to southeastern North America (hence the occasional common name of southern witherod). Both species are noted for having handsome fruit displays. V. cassinoides is a dense, rounded, multi-stemmed, upright-spreading, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 5- 6′ (less frequently to 12′) tall. Elliptic to ovate leaves (to 3 1/2″ long) sometimes with crenulate margins emerge in spring with bronze tones, mature to a dull dark green in summer and finally turn attractive shades of orange-red to red-purple in fall. Creamy white flowers (3/16″ across) in flat-topped clusters (cymes 2-5″ wide) bloom in late spring (May-June). Flowers are followed by green fruit (5/16″ long) that turns pink to red to blue to black in fall (sometimes with two or more colors simultaneously displayed in the same cluster. Berries provide sharp contrast to the foliage, and will remain on the plant after foliage drop to provide excellent winter interest. Other common names for this shrub are blue haw, swamp haw and wild raisin.
Genus name comes from the Latin name of a species plant.
Specific epithet means resembling Ilex cassine