Viburnum opulus var. americanum 'Hahs'
Common Name: American cranberry bush
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Adoxaceae
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers loams with consistent moisture, but tolerates a wide range of soils. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Plants struggle in the hot and humid summers south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viburnum opulus var. americanum, synonymous with and formerly known as Viburnum trilobum, is native to swampy woods, bogs, lake margins, pastures, thickets, slopes and moist low places from New Brunswick to British Columbia south to New York, the Great Lakes, South Dakota and Oregon. It is often called American cranberry bush in order to distinguish it from the similar European cranberry bush, Viburnum opulus. For many years, American cranberry bush has also been commonly called highbush cranberry. It is a deciduous shrub with a dense, rounded, spreading habit that typically grows to 8-12’ tall. It features lacecap white flowers in spring in flat-topped 3” wide cymes of tiny fertile florets surrounded by larger sterile florets, drooping clusters of cranberry-like red berries (drupes) in fall and three lobed, maple-like, dark green leaves. The berries (drupes) are edible fresh off the shrub, and are much less bitter than those berries found on V. opulus. Berries are sometimes used to make jams and jellies. Fruits tend to shrivel after frost. Foliage turns a sometimes attractive purplish red in fall.

Genus name comes from the Latin name of a species plant.

The true cranberry that is grown commercially for food (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is a non-related member of the heath family.

'Hahns' is a more compact cultivar that grows to 6-8' tall and as wide. Creamy white flower clusters (cymes) bloom in May. Leaves (2-5" long) emerge with copper tinting in spring, mature quickly to dark green and finally turn attractive deep reddish-purple in fall. Fruits typically change color as they mature (from green to yellow to orange and finally to red). Fruits tend to shrivel after frost, but often will retain good red color into early winter.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids. Viburnum crown borer can cause stem dieback. Some susceptibility to bacterial leaf spot, stem blight and powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Shrub borders or foundations. Woodland margins. Hedge or screen.