Nannyberry Viburnum lentago
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
This tends to be one of the taller viburnums, often growing to the
height of a small tree. Its naked, powdery-hairy buds resemble
those of some other viburnums, Hobblebush, Wild-raisin, and the
The last two are the most similar
(Hobblebush is usually a low, sprawling shrub) and the terminal flower
buds help to differentiate them. Also, Nannyberry leaves are
sharply toothed, unlike Wild-raisin and dried scraps of leaves are
often found still clinging to the tree in the winter. I have read
many sources claiming that the terminal flower bud of these two species
can be helpful in indentification. Apparently, the scales on the
Nannyberry completely cover the bud, while the Wild-raison does not.
While there does appear to be a general trend toward more scale
coverage on the Nannyberry, I have found quite a bit of overlap, and I
would avoid relying on this characteristic for identification. In
fact, when leaves (living or dead) are not present, I personally find
these two to be very difficult. Habitat is helpful, with
Nannyberry preferring drier, more upland sites and Wild-raison growing
in moist to even swampy soil.
Winter twig of Nannyberry.
Another view of the terminal growth bud (its base is not swollen)
Terminal flower bud and lateral buds.
Another view of a flower bud
Lateral bud and leaf scar (three vein scars)
The remains of a fruit cluster
A old dried leaf. Notice the teeth on the margin. Nannyberry also has winged leaf stalks.
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© 2008 Josh Sayers
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