Viburnum nudum s.l. L. - Possum-Haw, Witherod, Wild-Raisin

Viburnum nudum s.l.
Photo by Steven D. Glenn

Native , Occasional

By Steven D. Glenn

Not peer reviewed

Last Modified 01/25/2013

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Viburnum nudum
This map displays data of both var. nudum and var. cassinoides.

Common Names

Possum-Haw, Witherod, Wild-Raisin

Field Identification

Shrub with opposite leaves which can have entire margins or slightly crenate margins; with clusters of small white flowers followed by dark-blue to black berries.

Food uses

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 food purposes without first consulting a physician. 

Moerman, 1998

The fruit was consumed by Native Americans.

Medicinal uses

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 to treat spasms, fever, smallpox, and sore tongue.

Other uses

Rehder, 1940; Flint, 1983

Used as an ornamental in landscaping situations, hardy to USDA zone 3?-5.


Viburnum nudum L. Sp. Pl. 268. 1753.


var. nudum

Viburnum punicifolium Desfontaines, Hist. Arb. Arbriss. 1: 345. 1809.

Viburnum laurifolium Raf., Alsogr. Am. 52. 1838.

Viburnum nudum var. claytoni Torrey & Gray, Fl. N. Am. 2: 14. 1841.

TYPE: USA, Virginia, Williamsburg: 1734, Clayton 64. (Lectotype: Clayton 64, BM), designated by Malecot, 2002


var. cassinoides

Viburnum cassinoides L. Sp. Pl. ed. 2, 2: 384. 1762.

Cassine corymbosa Mill., Gard. Dict. ed. 8: Fig. Pl. L. 55, t. 83. 1768.

Cassine peragua Houttuyn, Lin. Pfl. Syst. 3: 357. 1773, not Mill. Gard. Dict. 1768.

Viburnum squamatum Willd., Enum. Pl. Hort. Berol. 1: 327. 1809.

Viburnum pyrifolium sensu Pursh, Fl. Am. Sept. 1: 201. 1814, non Poiret 1808.

Viburnum nudum sensu Hook., Fl. Bor.-Am. 1: 279. 1834, non L. 1753.

Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides Torrey & Gray, Fl. N. Am. 2: 16. 1841.

Viburnum corymbosum (Mill.) Rehd., J. Arnold Arb. 3: 214. Dec. 1922, not Urb., Fedde. Rep. Spec. Nov. 18: 121. Aug. 1922.

TYPE: North America: Kalm s.n.? (Lectotype: Kalm s.n., LINN 379.12), designated by Malecot, 2002 


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

STEMS Main stems ascending or erect, round. Bark smooth, not exfoliating, brown. Branches ascending. Twigs brown or gray, not odoriferous, terete, 2-4 mm in diam., smooth or lenticellate, glabrous or scurfy with sessile brown scales, moderately dense or dense, distributed apically, eglandular. 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; terminal bud elongate. Bud scales 2, valvate, scurfy with sessile reddish orange or brown scales, densely distributed throughout eglandular. Leaf scars thinly crescent shaped. Vascular bundle scars 3.

LEAVES Opposite, simple, spiral, 2 per node, divergent from stem. Stipules absent. Leaves petiolate, petiole furrowed, 0.3-1.5 cm long, with short and unbranched erect or spreading hairs or scurfy with sessile scales, moderately dense or dense, distributed throughout. Not glabrescent, eglandular. Leaf blades: abaxial surface light green, adaxial surface green, lanceolate or oblanceolate or elliptic or oblong or ovate, bilaterally symmetric, 2-13 cm long, 1.5-5 cm wide, chartaceous, base acute or cuneate, margin entire or 3-D or crenate, undulate, apex acuminate or acute, abaxial surface glabrous or scurfy with sessile reddish orange or brown scales, moderately dense, distributed throughout. Not glabrescent, eglandular. Adaxial surface glabrous or scurfy with sessile reddish orange or brown, scales, sparse, distributed throughout, eglandular. For a discussion of leaf differences between var. nudum and var. cassinoides see McAtee, 1921.

INFLORESCENCES Bisexual, compound, terminal umbelliform cyme; brown-scurfy. Peduncle 0.8-3 cm long, with dark red-orange sessile glands. Bracts sessile, linear triangular, apex acute, caducous, scurfy with sessile reddish orange or brown scales, moderately dense, distributed throughout, eglandular. Bracteoles 0 or 1, at base of pedicel or at apex of pedicel, linear triangular, apex acute, scurfy, eglandular, caducous.

FLOWERS Serotinous, formed on last season's growth, bisexual, with sepals and petals readily distinguishable from one another, 5-merous, fragrance absent. Calyx actinomorphic, tubular, of fused sepals, persistent. Sepal lobes 5, triangular, margin entire, apex obtuse, abaxial surface glabrous, eglandular. Corolla actinomorphic, of fused petals, deciduous, abaxial and adaxial surfaces white. Petal lobes 5, 1.5-2 mm long, margin entire, apex acute or obtuse, abaxial surface glabrous, eglandular, adaxial surface glabrous, eglandular. 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. Placentation axile or parietal. Androecium epipetalous, exserted, haplostemous. Stamens 5. Anthers yellow, glabrous, eglandular. Filaments straight, white, glabrous, adnate to base of petals. For a morphological analysis of pollen see Donoghue, 1985.

FRUITS Drupe, dark blue, ovoid, 6-10 mm long, 5-6 mm wide, glabrous or sparsely scurfy with sessile reddish orange or brown scales, distributed throughout, eglandular, glaucous. For a discussion of fruit differences between var. nudum and var. cassinoides see McAtee, 1921.

SEEDS Seeds 1, yellow, lenticular, 5-6 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, glabrous, eglandular, pusticulate.


Usually found in moist swamps and woods to mesic woods; occasionally in dryer situations.


Native to Eastern North America.

United States -- AK, AL, 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, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC

New York Metropolitan Region -- Native throughout the metropolitan area, especially near the coast.

Rarity Status

Heritage Global Rank -- G5

Connecticut -- S3

New Jersey -- Not listed

New York -- S1 (var. nudum)

Species Biology


(May [week 2]) May [week 4] - July [week 2] (July [week 4])



Waldbauer, 1984

Mycophily -- Temnostoma spp., Syrphidae?



July [week 1] - often persisting through the following winter



Ridley, 1930; Martin, 1951

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)



Schopmeyer, 1974; Giersbach, 1937; Fedec, 1973

Viburnum seed is slow to germinate and most species have embryo dormancy as well as seedling (epicotyl) dormancy. 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). Stratification for 60 days at 68[night]-86[day] degrees F followed by 90 days at 50 degrees F in moist sand has given good results. Seed stored in the dried fruit in a sealed container at 41 degrees F showed no loss of viability after 14 months.

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