Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Hobblebush Viburnum Viburnum lantanoides (Viburnum alnifolium)


enlarge +

Hobblebush Virburnum, leaves & flowers
credit: Charl de Mille-Isles/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Witch-hobble, Hobblebush

Family: Caprifoliaceae, Honeysuckle view all from this family

Description Viburnum lantanoides (also called Hobblebush, Witch-hobble, and Moosewood) is a perennial shrub of the family Adoxaceae growing 2–4 meters (6–12 ft) high with pendulous branches that take root where they touch the ground. These rooted branches form obstacles which easily trip (or hobble) walkers – hence the common name.

The shrub forms large clusters of white to pink flowers in May–June. The flowers on the outer edge of the clusters are much larger (3–5 cm across). The whole cluster is typically 10 cm across. It has large, cardioid leaves which are serrate, 10–20 cm long. The bark is gray-brown and warty and the fruit is a drupe which is red, turning to black when ripened.

The flowers provide nectar for the Celastrina ladon (Spring Azure) butterfly. Mammals and birds feed on its fruit, twigs, and leaves. The large showy flowers along the edge of the cluster are sterile, while the small inner flowers have both male and female parts.

Viburnum lantanoides is found in the eastern U.S. and Canada from Georgia to the Canadian Maritimes. It grows in rich, moist acidic woods, stream banks, and swamps.

Habitat Canyons & valleys, Mountains.

Range Great Lakes, Southeast, New England, Mid-Atlantic.

Comments Arching branches root at tips. Transplants well.

Exposure Preference Shade.

Flower May - June

Native Distribution Extreme n.e. Ohio to Rhode Island, n. to Maine and Maritime; also s. through mts. to South Carolina

Site Preference Rich, moist woods; stream banks; swamps

Soil Preference Moist, gravelly or sandy, acid loams. pH 5.5-6.5

Wildlife Value Gamebirds, songbirds and mammals eat fruit; browsers eat twigs and leaves