Viburnum lantana

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Viburnum lantana
Foliage and immature fruit
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
V. lantana
Binomial name
Viburnum lantana
    • Viburnum aragonense Pau
    • Viburnum farinosum Stokes
    • Viburnum lantana var. europaeum Aiton
    • Viburnum maculatum Pant.
    • Viburnum tomentosum Lam.

Viburnum lantana, the 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.[2][3][4] The vigorous deciduous European treelike shrub is common along waysides.


It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 4–5 m (13–16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, simple oval to lanceolate, 6–13 cm (2.4–5.1 in) Long and 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) broad, with a finely serrated margin; they are densely downy on the underside, less so on the upper surface. The hermaphrodite flowers are small, around 5 mm (0.20 in), and creamy-white, produced in dense cymes 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) 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 (0.31 in) 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.[3][4]

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.[5]

Showing simultaneous red (unripe) and black (ripe) fruits

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.[4]

The fruit is of low to zero toxicity, but may cause vomiting or diarrhea if consumed unripe or in large quantities.[6]


  1. ^ "Viburnum lantana L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  2. ^ Flora Europaea: Viburnum lantana
  3. ^ a b Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  4. ^ a b c Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  5. ^ Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Britain p.87.
  6. ^ Plants for a Future: Viburnum lantana

External links[edit]