Northern Wild-raisin Viburnum cassinoides
Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle)
Branching: Opposite
Other names: Witherod

This member of the viburnum group can look quite similar to Nannyberry.  It is found in wet areas, along lakes and rivers.   Buds are longs, slender and pointed.  In the fall, they give off a "wet dog" smell when you walk through a grove of them.  They have dark berry-like fruits in clusters.  Unlike the other viburnums, the leaves are not toothed, and these, when present, can help differentiate from Nannyberry.   Nannyberry also tends to grow in drier, more upland sites.  Both of these species have long, bulbous flower buds at the end of the twigs and more slender leaf buds on the rest of the twig.   The extent to which the scales on the flower bud cover the bulbous section can be helpful in identifying these two species.   The Nannyberry scales almost completely cover the whole bud, while the Wild-raisin flower bud scales (like the one shown below) tend not not to cover the middle of the bud.  However, these trends have many exceptions, and I have found alot of overlap between these two species.  Furthermore, twigs of both species can occasionally terminate in a leaf bud instead of a flower bud.  I make a point of looking for dead leaves on or beneath the plant, as these are the most helpful in distinguishing these two.

End bud and lateral buds of Wild-raisin.  Notice the terminal flower bud, and lateral leaf buds

Closeup of a terminal flower bud

Winter twig of Wild-raisin

A terminal leaf bud on a Wild-raisin

Another Wild-raisin twig

Terminal flower bud.  Also notice the toothless leaves, unlike Nannyberry.  They also tend to be a little thicker and more leathery

Lateral buds

Lateral buds

Old fruit cluster (the fruits have all fallen off)

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copyright 2008 Josh Sayers
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