Viburnum opulus - European Cranberrybush Viburnum
Family: Caprifoliaceae

Hear the scientific name

Viburnum opulus is primarily known through its various cultivars. The most common is 'Compactum'. European Cranberrybush Viburnum has showy creamy-white inflorescences in spring, red berries throughout autumn, and bold texture with raisin-like fruits in winter.

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  form2 form Form

-medium- to large-sized ornamental shrub (cultivars are smaller)

-species form matures at about 10' tall x 10' wide, although sometimes larger

-upright oval growth habit in youth, becoming arching and spreading with age

-medium growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green, opposite, ovate, trilobed, and deeply incised, about 3' long x 3' wide, with acute apices and a truncate base

-concave glands are often present on the upper petiole, giving it a warty appearance upon close inspection

-overall shape resembles a trilobed Maple leaf, while autumn color is often green then abscised, but may have tinges of purple or red


-white, in late May and early June, as flat-topped inflorescences to 3" in diameter, composed of an outer ring of white sterile flowers that open first, followed by the inner disc of creamy fertile flowers


-green globular immature fruits of summer mature to pendulous clusters of bright cherry-red fruits in late Aug., persistent and attractive throughout autumn, then shriveling and fading in winter, and remaining into the following spring as droopy raisins (if not consumed by wildlife, primarily the birds)


-stems are medium green and lightly grooved in summer, maturing to a light tan in winter, very stout and straight, sparsely branched when young, having winter buds that are large, smooth, very shiny, and red-brown

trunk Trunk

-trunks are stout, upright, and straight when young, becoming slightly ridged, furrowing, and arching with maturity

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-full sun to partial shade

-highly adaptable to permanently moist to wet soils, dry soils, poor soils, soils of various pH, heat, drought, and pollution

-pests include black aphids and black ants (cosmetically unattractive, at the terminus of the new shoots) and borers (damaging to individual mature stems); a disease (stem blight) may also occur, causing wilting and dieback of the terminal growth

-commonly available in B&B form


-zones 3 to 8


-native to Eurasia and North Africa

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-4 cultivars with excellent attributes:

-'Compactum' - creamy-white flowers in late spring and red berries in autumn

-'Xanthocarpum' - creamy-white flowers in late spring and golden berries in autumn

-'Roseum' - ultra-showy, sterile snowball flowers in spring

-'Nanum' - attractive foliage on a facer shrub

-bird attraction in winter (for the fruiting forms)

-urban tolerant


-aphid and ant infestation in late spring and early summer is unsightly on the new stem growth when viewed up-close, but is not harmful to the plant

-borers and/or blight will sometimes cause individual stems to die back all the way to the ground as the shrub reaches maturity

-habit can become large, open, and gangly with age, and in need of pruning for shaping or rejuvenation


-formal or informal hedge, border, entranceway, foundation, or specimen shrub, often in group plantings


-medium in foliage and bold when bare

-average density in foliage and open when bare

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-shrubs with showy red berries in autumn and winter (Aronia arbutifolia, Cotoneaster apiculatus, Ilex verticillata, Viburnum trilobum, etc.)

-shrubs with a combination of sterile and fertile flowers on the same inflorescence (Hydrangea species, Viburnum sargentii, V. trilobum, etc.)


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