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Native Plant of the Week: American Cranberry Bush

Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)

Pictures: Flower (Hixson and Salicyna, CC BY-SA 4.0), Berries (KMS Native Plants), Fall Color (Chapman, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Bloom Time: May-June

Fruit: August-September

Flower: White

Soil Condition: Average, Moist, Wet, Well Drained, Rich

Light: Full Sun to Light Shade

Height: 8-12' tall by 8-12' wide

Native Range: North America including Long Island

Zone: 2 to 7

Viburnum opulus var americanum (syn Viburnum trilobum) is a four-season beauty. It is a fantastic native shrub for a hedge or screen as it has a moderate growth habit of about 3 feet per year. The flowers last for about four weeks. Note: You need cross-pollination for the edible, bright red berries (3 or more is perfect). The fall color is a stunning bright red.

Maintenance: Viburnum Leaf Beetle may be a problem. Introduced from Europe and found initially on Viburnum opulus (European Cranberry Bush). The larvae and adults can defoliate a shrub. Severe damage usually does not kill the shrub, unless it happens yearly. For more information: It will hybridize with Viburnum opulus var. opulus (European Cranberry Bush). This has created a loss of the native genotype. Be sure you are buying the correct plant by making sure the Latin name is clearly on the label. Many garden centers will sell you European Cranberry Bush. The berries on the European Cranberry Bush are not edible.

Benefits: Birds, small critters and people eat the berries (best picked after a good freeze), clay tolerant, nectar source, pollinators, host plant to the Spring Azure butterfly

Companion Plants: Caltha palustris - Marsh Marigold, Acer rubrum - Red Maple, Cornus sericea - Red Twig Dogwood, Sambucus canadensis - Black Elderberry, Onoclea sensibilis - Sensitive Fern, Carex amphibola - Creek Sedge



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