Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum (L.) Ait.
ADOXACEAE (Muskroot Family)
EtymologyViburnum is the classical Latin name for Viburnum lantana (Wayfaring Tree Viburnum), applied to the entire genus; dendatum means toothed and lucidum means shining or clear in Latin.
Synonyms (Common Name)Smooth Arrow-wood
DescriptionArrow-wood is named for its long, straight branches. Over the years, some botanists have classified Arrow-wood as a single species, Viburnum dentatum L., while others have split it into varieties, which is the current taxonomy. Northern Arrow-wood (V. dentatum L. var. lucidum Ait.), which is most common throughout New England, is a deciduous, broad-leaved shrub that forms thickets in moist woods and swamps. Southern Arrow-wood (Viburnum dentatum L. var. venosum (Britt.) Gleason) occurs along the coastal plain of Cape Cod and Rhode Island.
Wetland indicator statusFACW-
Plant Heightusually 5-6 feet, to 16 feet
LeavesDeciduous, opposite, simple; coarsely and sharply toothed, 2-4" long, to 3" wide; ovate to round, with slightly heart-shaped or rounded base, on stalks to 1" long; prominent veins beneath, smooth (occasionally undersides may be slightly hairy); red in autumn.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite, tiny (1/4"), 5 sepals and 5 petals; clustered in flat-topped cymes 2-4" wide.
Flowering PeriodMay-July
FruitBerry-like drupe, small (1/4-1/3"), bluish-black, contains a single seed; in clusters.
Fruiting PeriodJuly-October.
HabitatWooded swamps, shrub swamps, marshes, moist woods.
RangeNew Brunswick to Ontario and Michigan, south to New Jersey; in mountains to Georgia.
Gray Birch (Betula populifolia)
Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Speckled Alder (Alnus incana ssp. Rugosa)
Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)
Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Similar Species
Southern Arrow-wood(Viburnum dentatum L. var. venosum (Britt.) Gleason) grows along the coastal plain from Cape Cod to New Jersey, Florida and Texas; Northern Arrow-wood has a more northern distribution from New Brunswick to New Jersey. Southern Arrow-wood has hairier twigs and leaf stalks, and the leaves may have hairy undersides.
Wild raisin (V. nudum var. cassinoides) has ill-scented flowers. The leaves, which are narrower than those of Arrow-wood, may be entire, slightly wavy, or obscurely toothed. Its berries turn from white to red to bluish-black as they ripen.
Elderberry(Sambucus canadensis), which is found in more minerotrophic habitats, has compound leaves with 5 or more leaflets, rather than simple leaves.
Seasonal Diagnostics
Spring: Flat-topped clusters of tiny white flowers in May-July
Summer: Opposite, sharply-toothed leaves with prominent veins.
Fall: Clusters of blue-black berries contrast with bright red/maroon leaves.
Winter: Opposite branching. Branches very long, straight, and erect.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett