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Viburnum lentago
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Viburnum lentago.jpg
Plant Info
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Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Dipsacales
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Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Adoxaceae
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Genus: Viburnum
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Species: V. lentago
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Binomial name
Viburnum lentago
Trinomial name
Type Species

Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry, Sheepberry, or Sweet Viburnum) is a species of Viburnum native to the north-eastern United States and southern Canada, from New Brunswick south to New York and west to the Dakotas.

It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 9 m tall with a trunk up to 25 cm diameter. The bark is grayish-brown, and broken into small scales. The twigs are smooth, tough, flexible and produce an offensive odor when crushed or bruised. Like all viburnums, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs on the twigs; they are oval, 5-10 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, finely serrate, with a winged petiole. The flowers are small, 5-6 mm diameter, with five whitish petals, arranged in large round cymes 5-12 cm diameter. The fruit is a small round blue-black drupe, 8-16 mm long on a reddish stem. The fruit is sweet and edible.


A small tree about twenty feet in height, with a short trunk, round-topped head, pendulous, flexible branches. Roots are fibrous, wood is ill-smelling. Loves wet soil along the borders of the forest, often found in fence corners and along roadsides. Ranges from Quebec to the Saskatchewan River, southward through the northeastern states to Georgia and west to Missouri and Nebraska.

  • Bark: Reddish brown, divided into small thick plates, surface scaly. Branchlets at first pale green, covered with rusty down, finally become dark reddish brown, sometimes glaucous.
  • Wood: Dark orange brown; heavy, hard, close-grained. Sp. gr., 0.7303; weight of cu. ft., 45.51 lbs.
  • Winter buds: Light red, covered with pale scurfy down, protected by a pair of opposing scales. Flower-bearing buds are three-quarters of an inch long, obovate, long pointed. Other terminal buds are acute, one-half an inch long; lateral buds much smaller. Bud-scales enlarge with the growing shoot and often become leaf-like.
  • Leaves: Opposite, simple, ovate, two and one-half inches long, wedge-shaped, rounded or subcordate at base, serrate, acuminate. They come out of the bud involute, bronze green and shining, hairy and downy; when full grown are bright green and shining above, pale green and marked with tiny black dots beneath. Feather veined, midrib slender, primary veins connected by conspicuous veinlets. In autumn they turn a deep red, or red and orange. Petioles broad, grooved, winged or wingless, and inch to an inch and a half in length. Stipules tiny, occasional.
  • Flowers: May, June. Perfect, cream-white, borne in stout, branched, scrufy, flat, terminal cymes, from three to five inches in diameter. Bracts and bractlets, triangular, green caducous.
  • Calyx: Tubular, equally five-toothed, persistent.
  • Corolla: Rotate, equally five-lobed, imbricate in the bud, cream-white, one-quarter of an inch across; lobes acute, and slightly erose.
  • Stamens: Five, inserted on the base of the corolla, alternate with its lobes, exserted; filaments slender; anthers bright yellow, oblong, introrse, versatile, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.
  • Pistil: Ovary inferior, one-celled; style thick, short, light green; stigma broad; ovules one in each cell.
  • Fruit: Fleshy drupe, crowned with the calyx tube, borne on slender, drooping, red stalks, in few-fruited clusters, oval, flattened, thick skinned, black or dark blue, glaucous, sweet, and rather juicy. Stone oblong oval, flattened. September.

The Sheepberry is one of the largest of the Viburnums. It is admired for its compact habit, its lustrous foliage which insects rarely disfigure, its beautiful and abundant flowers, its handsome edible fruit and its briliant autumnal color. It readily adapts itself to cultivation, and is one of the best of the small trees of eastern America for the decoration of parks and gardens in all regions of extreme winter cold. It is easily raised from seeds which, like those of the other American species, do not germinate until the second year after they are planted.[1]


As suggested by the alternative name Sweet Viburnum, the fruit is (unlike that of many Viburnums) edible. The bark and leaves were also used by Native Americans in the preparation of herbal medicines.



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