New York Metropolitan Flora

Viburnum sieboldii Miq. - Siebold Viburnum

Non-native , Occasional

By Steven D. Glenn

Not peer reviewed

Last Modified 01/25/2013

Back to Viburnum

Viburnum sieboldii

Common Names

Siebold Viburnum

Field Identification

Shrub with opposite, simple, toothed leaves; with clusters of small white flowers followed by dark blue-black berries.

Other uses

(Rehder, 1940) (Flint, 1983)

Used as an ornamental in landscaping situations, hardy to USDA zone 4-5.


Viburnum sieboldii Miq., Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd.-Bat. 2: 267. 1866.
TYPE: unknown


HABIT Perennial, deciduous, phanerophytic, small tree or shrub, monoclinous, 1-10 m tall.

STEMS Main stems ascending or erect, round. Bark smooth, not exfoliating, light gray or gray. Branches ascending. Twigs brown or light brown or light gray or gray, terete, 2-5 mm in diam., smooth, glabrous or with long and unbranched or two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate erect to appressed light brown or white hairs, sparsely to densely distributed apically; sparsely beset with orange-red lenticels; often with many short shoots. Pith light brown, round, continuous, nodal diaphram 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; terminal bud oblong, 10-20 mm long, pointed; axillary buds 1 per axil, oblong, 5-15 mm long, pointed. Bud scales brown, with with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate light brown or white hairs, moderately densely or densely distrubted throughout, glabrescent, becoming glabrous in middle. Bud scale scars not encircling the stem. Leaf scars thinly crescent-shaped. Vascular bundle scars 3, crescent-shaped.

LEAVES Opposite, simple, 2 per node, spaced somewhat evenly along stem, divergent from stem. Stipules absent. Leaves petiolate, petiole furrowed, 0.5-2 cm long, with long and unbranched or two to five-armed erect to appressed hairs, sparsely to densely distributed throughout; not glabrescent. Leaf blades: abaxial surface light green, adaxial surface green or dark green, elliptic or oblong or obovate, bilaterally symmetric, 5-17 cm long, 2.5-7 cm wide, chartaceous, base cuneate, margin crenate-serrate, apex acute or cuspidate or obtuse, abaxial surface glabrous or with long and unbranched or with two to five-armed fasciculate-stellate erect to appressed light brown or white hairs, sparsely distributed along midveins. Adaxial surface glabrous. Leaves foul smelling (bell pepper x diesel fuel?) when crushed or bruised.

INFLORESCENCES Bisexual, compound, terminal paniculate cyme, 7-10 cm long; moderately hairy below pedicels. Peduncle 2-3 cm long. Rachis present. Bracts sessile, linear triangular, apex acute, caducous. Pedicels 2-3 mm long, glabrous. Bracteoles 0 or 1, 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, fragrance absent, perianth of two whorls. Calyx actinomorphic, tubular, of fused sepals, persistent, abaxial and adaxial surfaces light green. Sepal lobes 5, very widely ovate, 0.5-1 mm long, 0.5-1 mm wide, margin entire, apex obtuse, glabrous. Corolla actinomorphic, acetabuliform, of fused petals, deciduous, abaxial and adaxial surfaces white, 7-9 mm wide. Petals or petal lobes 5. Widely ovate, 3-4 mm long, 2-2.5 mm wide, margin entire, apex obtuse, glabrous. Gynoecium syncarpous. Carpels 1. 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, eglandular. Placentation axile or parietal. Androecium alternate, epipetalous, exserted, haplostemous. Stamens 5. Anthers yellow, glabrous. Filaments straight, white, glabrous, adnate to base of petals.

FRUITS Drupe, dark blue-black (pink when immature), ovoid, 8-10 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, glabrous.

SEEDS Seeds 1, yellowish orange, ellipsoid, 7-8 mm long, 4-4.5 mm wide, glabrous, pusticulate.


Usually found escaping from cultivation in mesic to moist wooded situations.


Indigenous to Japan, becoming naturalized in the eastern United States.

United States -- CT, DE, KY, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, PA

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

Rarity Status

Heritage global rank -- G5

Species Biology

May [week 2] - June [week 1]


Waldbauer, 1984

Mycophily -- Temnostoma spp.

June [week 3] - October [week 3]


Martin, 1951 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