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A strong-growing, rather coarse-habited, deciduous shrub, 6 to 10 ft high; the central shoots erect, the lower ones spreading, often prostrate; young bark covered with a thick scurfy down. Leaves in distant pairs, broadly ovate to roundish, the points short and abrupt, the base heart-shaped, margins irregularly toothed, 4 to 8 in. long, nearly as broad, upper surface dark green, at first downy, but becoming glabrous; lower surface with much stellate down on the midrib and veins, especially when young; stalk 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, scurfy downy. Flowers white, produced in stalkless cymes with usually five divisions, and 3 to 5 in. across; marginal flowers sterile, and 3⁄4 to 1 in. across; central ones perfect and much smaller. Fruits red, turning black-purple, 1⁄3 in. long, broadly oval. Bot. Mag., t. 9373.
Native of eastern N. America; introduced in 1820. It is not an easy plant to suit, needing woodland conditions and there only thriving away from the root-run of large trees, as it needs abundant moisture to be seen at its best. It is very distinct in its large leaves, which turn deep claret-red in the autumn, and from our native V. lantana is well distinguished in having large, sterile marginal flowers. The popular name refers to its prostrate lower branches, which often take root and trip up the unwary traveller through its native haunts. The venation of the leaves is handsome; the primary veins branch on the lower side only, and are connected by thin parallel nerves almost at right angles.
Viburnum lantanoides received an Award of Merit in 1952.
The correct name for V. cordifolium, mentioned on page 704, is V. nervosum D. Don (1825), which has priority over V. cordifolium Wall. ex DC. (1830). The species is in cultivation at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, from Schilling 1107, collected in Nepal.