New York Metropolitan Flora

Viburnum lantana L. - Wayfaring-Tree

Non-native , Occasional

By Steven D. Glenn

Not peer reviewed

Last Modified 01/25/2013

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Viburnum lantana

Common Names


Field Identification

Shrub with opposite, simple, toothed leaves, clusters of small white flowers followed by dark blue fruits.

Other uses

(Rehder, 1940) (Flint, 1983)

Used as an ornamental in landscaping situations, hardy to USDA zone 3.


*Viburnum lantana L., Sp. Pl. 268. 1753.
Viburnum tomentosum Lam., Fl. Franc. 3: 363. 1778.
TYPE: unknown


HABIT Perennial, deciduous, phanerophytic, shrub, monoclinous, 1-4 m tall.

STEMS Main stems ascending or erect, round. Bark smooth, brown or light brown, with orange streaks, not exfoliating. Branches ascending. Twigs brown or gray, terete, 2.5-5 mm in diameter, slightly lenticellate on older twigs, with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate erect or appressed or spreading brown or light brown hairs, sparsely to densely distributed apically or at nodes, not glabrescent. Pith white, round, continuous, nodal diaphragm absent. 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, naked; axillary buds 1 per axil. Leaf scars thinly crescent-shaped. Vascular bundle scars 3.

LEAVES Opposite, simple, spaced somewhat evenly along stem, divergent from stem. Leaves petiolate, petiole furrowed, 0.7-2 cm long, with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate hairs, moderately densely to densely distributed throughout, not glabrescent. Leaf blades: abaxial surface light green, adaxial surface green, elliptic or ovate, bilaterally symmetric, 3-12 cm long, 2-7 cm wide, chartaceous, base obtuse or cordate, margin serrulate, apex acute. Abaxial surface with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate brown or white hairs, moderately densely to densely distributed throughout, not glabrescent. Adaxial surface with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate brown or white hairs, moderately densely distributed throughout, not glabrescent.

INFLORESCENCES Bisexual, compound, terminal umbelliform cyme. Peduncle densely covered with brownish stellate hairs. Bracts sessile, linear triangular, apex acute, caducous. Pedicels 0-5 mm long, with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate hairs, sparsely to densely distributed throughout, not glabrescent. Bracteoles 0 or 1, at base of pedicel or at apex of pedicel, linear triangular, apex acute, with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate hairs, caducous.

FLOWERS Serotinous, formed on last season's growth, bisexual, with sepals and petals readily distinguishable from one another, 5-merous. Calyx actinomorphic, tubular, of fused sepals, persistent, glabrous. Sepal lobes 5, triangular, 1 mm long, margin entire, apex acute, abaxial surface glabrous. Corolla actinomorphic, of fused petals, deciduous. Petals 5, white, 3-4 mm long, margin entire, apex acute, abaxial surface glabrous, adaxial surface glabrous. Gynoecium syncarpous. Carpels 1. Locules 3, 1 fertile, 2 abortive. Stigmas 1, 3-lobed on a short stylopodium at the top of the ovary. Styles 1, short, conical, glabrous. Ovary inferior. Placentation axile or parietal. Stamens 5, epipetalous, exserted, haplostemous. Anthers yellow, glabrous. Filaments straight, white, glabrous, adnate to base of petals.

FRUITS Drupe, red turning to dark blue, ovoid, 8-10 mm long, 8 mm wide, glabrous.

SEEDS Seeds 1, yellow, lenticular, 7 mm long, 6 mm wide, glabrous, pusticulate, groved.


Usually found escaping from cultivation in mesic conditions.


Indigenous to Europe and western Asia, becoming naturalized in North America.

United States -- CO, CT, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NJ, NY, PA, VT, WI, WY

Canada -- ON, QC

New York Metropolitan Region -- Nonnative, occasionally escaping from cultivation and naturalizing throughout the metropolitan region.

Rarity Status

Heritage global rank -- G5

Species Biology



Waldbauer, 1984

Mycophily -- Temnostoma spp.

July - October


Hernandez, 2001 Ridley, 1930

Probably 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)


Fedec, 1973 Giersbach, 1937 Schopmeyer, 1974

Viburnum seed is slow to germinate and most species have embryo dormancy as well as seedling (epicotyl) dormancy and hard seed coats. Germination is epigeous. 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). Seed can probably be stored in a sealed container at 41 degrees F with little loss of viability after one to two years.

Dried seeds can be stored at low temperature for several years. Young & Young, 1992