Friday, January 14, 2011

Vivacious Viburnums

Attractive spring flowers, large blue fruits, and fabulous fall color- all recommend two native Ohio viburnums: Nannyberry and Black-haw.

Birds and small animals rely on this family of woodland plants to supplement their diets.

But with thirteen varieties of viburnums growing in our natural areas, they can become a bit confusing. I especially find it difficult to keep these two similar species straight in my mind.

The Woody Plants of Ohio, by E. Lucy Braun is the best guide for sorting woody natives. Some of the Latin names have changed slightly, since it is older than the hills, but the line drawings are excellent and I'll risk copying a page for you. Hopefully, I won't be sent to prison for a copyright infringement.

A close look at the buds is the best way to sort these species. Black-haw or V. prunifolium on the top left- has a heavier, rounded bud and rounder leaf. Nannyberry, V. lentago (top- right) has an elongated beak-like bud, and the leaf is more elliptical.

I doubt the birds care one bit which of these two species is available, either suits them fine. Both are excellent sources of nutrition and attract wildlife; the fall color is just a bonus.

And if you are interested in learning more about plants for your landscape that will attract wildlife, I hope you will stop by at the Shreve Migration Sensation on March 26th. This event is fun for the whole family, with plenty of great speakers, vendors and live displays. Follow this link, or the logo on the side bar to a complete schedule of events. Hope to see you there!

*And yes, two points if you noted I misspelled "lentago" on the first slide/photo. I'll fix that before the program- for sure!

1 comment:

  1. This shrub is beautiful with bright white flowers in spring and summer. Also add exquisite orange and red in autumn. Viburnum prunifolia brings beautiful features of your home or garden, because it can only add to the appeal, but may also add beautiful leaves in the fall, as well as add value to your home. Black Haw has many clusters of white flowers and is also used for many medicinal uses, such as stomach pains and burns.

    Black Haw Viburnum