Viburnum trilobum – Highbush Cranberry

COMMON NAME: Highbush Cranberry, American Cranberrybush
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Viburnum trilobum Viburnum, from Latin meaning “wayfaring
tree” and triloba refers to the three-lobed leaf shape.
BLOOMING PERIOD: Late May to early June
SIZE: 8 to 12 feet tall and just as broad
BEHAVIOR: Moderate growth rate; tightly clustered stems, upright spreading or
arching branches; dense foliage. Arched branches may root at tips.
SITE REQUIREMENTS: Most common natural sites in Wisconsin are in alder thickets.
Can be grown in a variety of soils, from wet to dry-mesic. Tolerant of some shade, but
with reduced flowering and fruiting.
NATURAL RANGE: Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to New England,
Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, Illinois, west to South Dakota, Wyoming and Washington.
Occurs throughout Wisconsin but is not common.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Lace-like flowers occur in two types in each cluster. Large,
showy, sterile “landing pads” for insects ring tiny fertile flowers. Forms clusters of
glossy red berries that persist through winter. These are eaten sparingly by birds and
small animals in fall, but devoured by waxwings and some other birds in late winter or
spring. The fruit goes through a showy yellowish stage before ripening, is edible and
can be make into tart preserves. Fall foliage color can be an excellent brick red.
SUGGESTED CARE: Water well until established. Protect from rabbits while small.
Avoid planting in dry locations. Older plants will flower and fruit better with periodic
renewal pruning.
COMPANION PLANTS: Red maple, red osier dogwood, speckled alder, skunk cabbage,
and marsh marigold.