Viburnum acerifolium L. - Maple-leaf Viburnum
Native , Common
By Steven D. Glenn
Not peer reviewed
Last Modified 06/10/2013
Common NamesMaple-leaf Viburnum
Field IdentificationShrub with opposite, simple, palmately veined toothed leaves; and with clusters of small white flowers followed by blue-black berries.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for reference and historical use. We do not recommend nor do we condone the use of this species for medicinal purposes without first consulting a physician.Moerman, 1998 Used by Native Americans for treatment of spasms, fever, smallpox, sore tongue, stomach cramps, colic, urinary tract disorders, and as a poultice for pain caused from witchcraft.
Other usesRehder, 1940 Flint, 1983 Used as an ornamental in landscaping situations, hardy to USDA zone 3.
Nomenclature*Viburnum acerifolium L., Sp. Pl. 268. 1753.
TYPE : USA, Virginia, Clayton 543. (Lectotype: Kalm s.n., LINN 379.7), designated by Malecot, 2002
DescriptionHABIT Perennial, deciduous, phanerophytic, shrub, monoclinous, 1-2 m tall.
STEMS Main stems ascending or erect, round. Bark light brown to gray, smooth, not exfoliating. Branches ascending. Twigs light brown to gray, not odoriferous, terete, 2-4 mm in diam., smooth, glabrous or with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate white hairs, erect or appressed or spreading, sparse or moderately dense or dense, distributed apically or at nodes, hairs usually restricted to current year twigs and nodes of older twigs. Pith round, continuous, nodal diaphragm absent, brown in older twigs, white in younger twigs. Sap translucent. For a detailed discussion of stem architecture see Donoghue, 1981 For a detailed analysis of the root anatomy see Gasson, 1979
BUDS Terminal and axillary present, scattered along stem, pointed. Bud scales 4, with long and unbranched hairs, appressed, sparse or moderately dense, distributed apically, with reddish orange glands or eglandular. Leaf scars thinly crescent-shaped. Vascular bundle scars 3.
LEAVES Opposite, simple, spiral, 2 per node, spaced somewhat evenly along stem, divergent from stem. Stipules present, lateral, persistent, adnate with the petiole, leaf-like, linear, usually with long, unbranched hairs. Leaves petiolate, petiole terete, 1-2.5 cm long, with long and unbranched hairs or with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate hairs, erect or appressed or spreading, sparse or moderately dense or dense, distributed throughout. Not glabrescent, eglandular or occasionally with red-orange glands. Leaf blades: abaxial surface light green, adaxial surface green, bilaterally symmetric, 3.5-12 cm long, 3.5-11 cm wide, base obtuse or cordate, margin lobed and toothed (often the uppermost pair of leaves unlobed), serrate, palmate, apex acute. Abaxial surface with long and unbranched hairs or with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate hairs, erect or appressed or spreading, white, moderately dense or dense, distributed throughout, with sessile, reddish orange glands. Adaxial surface with long and unbranched hairs or with fasciculate-stellate hairs, erect or spreading, white, sparse or moderately dense, distributed throughout, eglandular. Leaf lobes symmetrical, 3, apex acute, 1/4 - 1/2 the distance to the midvein. (Variety glabrescens has leaves glabrous or nearly so.)
INFLORESCENCES Bisexual, compound, terminal umbelliform cyme, generally with more hairs and glands toward coastal areas. Peduncle 4-8 cm long, nearly glabrous to moderately hairy, occasionally with red-orange glands. Bracts sessile, linear, apex acute, abaxial surface with long and unbranched hairs, glands present or eglandular, caducous. Glabrous or with short and unbranched hairs or with long and unbranched hairs or with fasciculate-stellate hairs, hairs erect or appressed or spreading, sparse or moderately dense, glands reddish orange or eglandular. Bracteoles 0 or 1, usually tinged rose-pink, at base of pedicel or at apex of pedicel, linear triangular, apex acute, caducous.
FLOWERS Serotinous, formed on last season's growth, bisexual, with sepals and petals readily distinguishable from one another, 5-merous, 4-5 mm long, fragrance absent, perianth of two whorls. Calyx actinomorphic, tubular, of fused sepals, persistent, abaxial and adaxial surfaces the same color, light yellow or light yellowish green, occasionally with red-orange glands and fasciculate-stellate hairs. Sepal lobes 5, very widely obovate, 0.5 mm long, 0.5 mm wide, margin entire, apex obtuse, abaxial surface glabrous, eglandular, lobes usually tinged rose-pink. Corolla actinomorphic, of fused petals, deciduous, abaxial and adaxial surfaces white, 4-5 mm wide. Petal lobes 5, very widely ovate, 1.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, margin entire, apex obtuse, abaxial and adaxial surfaces glabrous, eglandular. Gynoecium syncarpous. Carpels 1-3. Locules 3, 2 abortive, 1 fertile. Stigmas 1, 3-lobed on a short stylopodium at the top of the ovary. Styles 1, short, conical, glabrous. Ovary inferior, glabrous. Placentation axile or parietal. Androecium alternate, epipetalous, exserted, haplostemous. Stamens 5, 3-4 mm long, anthers light yellow, glabrous. Filaments straight, white, glabrous, adnate to base of petals. For a detailed analysis of the flower anatomy and morphology see Wilkinson, 1948
FRUITS Drupe, orange-red when immature turning dark bluish violet or black, globose, 6-8 mm long, 6-8 mm wide, glabrous, eglandular.
SEEDS Seeds 1, lenticular, 6-7 mm long, 5-6 mm wide, glabrous, pusticulate, with grooves.
HabitatUsually found in mesic to dry woods, usually in moderate to well-drained substrate.
DistributionNative to eastern North America.
United States -- AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada -- NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
New York Metropolitan Region -- Native throughout the metropolitan region.
Rarity StatusGlobal Heritage Rank -- G5
Connecticut -- Not listed
New Jersey -- Not listed
New York -- Not listed
Flowering May [week 1] - June [week 4]
Mellittophily -- Augochloropsis metallica, Dialictus cressonii, Xylocopa virginica, Andrena nivialis, Osmia felti, Osmia inspergens, Aogochlorella striata, Lasioglossum forbesii
Mycophily -- Aedes canadensis, Aedes stimulans , Temnostoma spp.
Fruiting June [week 4] - November [week 2] (to next Spring)
Endozoochory -- Avian frugivores: Pinicola enucleator (Pine Grosbeak), Acanthis flammea (Redpoll), Cardinalis cardinalis (Cardinal), Vireo olivaceus (Red-eyed Vireo), Bonasa umbellus (Ruffed Grouse), Phasianus colchicus (Ring-necked Pheasant), Meleagris gallopava (Turkey), Turdus migratorius (Robin), Sturnus vulgaris (Starling), Catharus minimus (Gray-cheeked Thrush), Catharus guttata (Hermit Thrush), Catharus ustulata (Olive-backed Thrush), Myiarchus crinitus (Great Crested Flycatcher), Bombycilla cedrorum (Cedar waxwing), Dryocopus pileatus (Pileated Woodpecker)
Mammals: Peromyscus spp.(White-footed Mice), Tamias striatus (Chipmunk), Euarctos americanus (Black Bear), Vulpes fulva (Red Fox), Sciurus carolinensis (Eastern Gray Squirrel), Sciurus niger (Eastern Fox Squirrel), Sylvilagus floridanus (Cottontail Rabbit), Mephitis mephitis (Skunk)
Germination is epigeous. Viburnum seed is slow to germinate and most species have embryo dormancy as well as seedling (epicotyl) dormancy and hard seed coats. Stratification at a constant 20 degrees C or a daily alternating temperature of 20 to 30 degrees C for germination followed by a low temperature pre-treatment for seedling production generally gives the best results. Seedling dormancy might be overcome by removal of the cotyledons or by a treatment of gibberellic acid (GA3).
Stratification for 180+ days at 68[night]-86[day] degrees F followed by 60-120 days at 41 degrees F in moist soil or peat has given good results. Schopmeyer, 1974
Stratification for 12-17 months at a constant 20 degrees C or a daily alternating temperature of 20 to 30 degrees C in moist soil or peat has given good results. Giersbach, 1937
Seed stored in the pulp in a sealed container at 41 degrees F showed no loss of viability after two years.  Seed stored in the pulp in a sealed container at 5 degrees C showed no loss of viability after 7 months. Dried seeds can be stored at low temperature for several years. Young, 1992