Viburnum lantana

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Viburnum lantana
Viburnum lantana a1.jpg
Foliage and immature fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
Species: V. lantana
Binomial name
Viburnum lantana

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.[1][2][3] 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.[2][3]

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.[4]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers and berries, growing best on alkaline soils. A number of cultivars have been selected, including 'Aureum', with yellow leaves in spring.[3]

The fruit is mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if consumed in large quantities.[5]


  1. ^ Flora Europaea: Viburnum lantana
  2. ^ a b Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  3. ^ a b c Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  4. ^ Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Britain p.87.
  5. ^ Plants for a Future: Viburnum lantana