|Foliage and immature fruit|
Viburnum lantana (Wayfarer or Wayfaring Tree) is a species of Viburnum, native to central, southern and western Europe (north to Yorkshire in England), northwest Africa, and southwestern Asia. The vigorous deciduous European treelike shrub is common along waysides.
It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 4–5 m tall. The leaves are opposite, simple oval to lanceolate, 6–13 cm wide and 4–9 cm broad, with a finely serrated margin; they are densely downy on the underside, less so on the upper surface. The hermaphrodite flowers are small (5 mm), creamy-white, produced in dense cymes 4–10 cm width at the top of the stems; they are produced in early summer, and pollinated by insects. The fruit is an oblong drupe 8 mm long, green at first, turning red, then finally black at full maturity, and contains a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the fruit, then deposit the seeds in another location in their droppings.
An older name for the plant is hoarwithy. "Hoar" means grey-haired and refers to the hairs under the leaves, and "withy" means a pliant stem.
Cultivation and uses
The fruit is mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if consumed in large quantities.
- Flora Europaea: Viburnum lantana
- Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
- Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
- Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Britain p.87.
- Plants for a Future: Viburnum lantana