Botanical Name : Viburnum lentago
Common Names: Nannyberry, Sheepberry, or Sweet viburnum
Habitat :Viburnum lentago is native to northern N. America – New Brunswick to Saskatchewan, south to Virginia and Nebraska It grows on rich soils along woodland borders, edges of streams etc, it is also found on rocky hillsides etc.
Viburnum lentago is a large shrub or small tree growing upwards to 30 ft (9 m) tall with a trunk up to ~10 inches (25 cm) diameter and a short trunk, round-topped head, pendulous, flexible branches. The bark is reddish- to grayish-brown, and broken into small scales. The twigs are pale green and covered with rusty down at first, later becoming dark reddish brown, sometimes glaucous, smooth, tough, flexible, and produce an offensive odor when crushed or bruised. The winter buds are light red, covered with pale scurfy down, protected by a pair of opposing scales. Flower-bearing buds are ~3/4 in (2 cm) long, obovate, long pointed; other terminal buds are acute, ~1/3 to 1/2 in (10–15 mm) long, while lateral buds are much smaller. The bud scales enlarge with the growing shoot and often become leaf-like.
Like all viburnums, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twigs; they are oval, ~2 – 4 in (5–10 cm) long and ~3/4 in – 2 in (2–5 cm) broad, wedge-shaped, rounded or subcordate at base, with an acuminate apex and a finely serrated margin, and a winged petiole. They open from the bud involute, bronze green and shining, hairy and downy; when full grown are bright green and shining above, pale green and marked with tiny black dots beneath. In autumn they turn a deep red, or red and orange.
The flowers are small, 5–6 mm diameter, with five whitish petals, arranged in large round terminal cymes 5–12 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The calyx is tubular, equally five-toothed, persistent; the corolla is equally five-lobed, imbricate in the bud, cream-white, one-quarter of an inch across; lobes acute, and slightly erose. There are five stamens, inserted on the base of the corolla, alternate with its lobes, exserted; filaments slender; anthers bright yellow, oblong, introrse, versatile, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally. The pistil has a one-celled inferior ovary, the style thick, short, light green, and the stigma broad; there is one ovule in each cell. The fruit is a small round blue-black drupe, 8–16 mm long on a reddish stem; it is thick skinned, sweet and rather juicy, and edible. The stone is oblong oval, flattened.
The roots are fibrous, wood is ill-smelling. It grows in wet soil along the borders of the forest, often found in fence corners and along roadsides. The wood is dark orange brown, heavy, hard, close-grained, with a density of 0.7303
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild. It readily sprouts from the roots and forms thickets, a habit that is undesirable in small gardens. The plants grow well, but do not usually fruit well in Britain. This is probably because they are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months
Fruit – raw or cooked. It can also be dried for winter use. The fruit is variable in size and quality, the best being about 15mm long, pulpy, very sweet, somewhat juicy and pleasant tasting but with a thick skin and a single large seed. The fruit is said to be best after a frost but it is sometimes dry.
The bark is antispasmodic. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat irregular menstruation and the spitting of blood. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of measles. An infusion of the leaves has been drunk, or a poultice of leaves applied, in the treatment of dysuria.
Hedge; Hedge; Wood.
The plant is grown as a hedge in N. America. Wood – heavy, hard, close grained, malodorous. Of no commercial value due to the small size of the trees.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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