The viburnums are blooming! And the bees are loving it! Beautiful and sweet-smelling cultivated varieties on campus are out just in time to add their glory to graduation weekend. And in the forest the less showy, but nevertheless beautiful native species have their own show going on. First, let me introduce the maple-leaved viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium, a shrub that grows two to six feet high. The leaves do look somewhat like those of maples, but the showy flowers and fleshy blue fruits would never be confused with maple’s tiny florets and winged samaras.
Now look up, and you’ll see another of our native viburnums, rusty black haw, or V. rufidulum. Rusty? Check out the lower leaf surfaces, which sport brown branched hairs that congregate near the midrib. Sometimes reaching heights of 25 feet, this Viburnum often qualifies as a small tree.