Wayfaring-tree
(Viburnum lantana)
Simple
Roundish
Opposite
Toothed

leaves

Winter twig
Winter twig

flowers

flowers

fruits

ripe fruits

distribution map

The leaves are opposite, round, 5-10 cm long, with finely-toothed margins. They are rough and slightly hairy above, but densely white-hairy beneath. The hairy leaf-stalks are 10-30 mm long.

ID check

Wayfaring-tree is a deciduous shrub, branching from the base, which grows 2-6 m tall and is found on woodland margins and in hedgerows on dry, lime-rich soils.

The funnel-shaped, creamy-white, 5-petalled flowers are 5-6 mm across. They are arranged in dense, branched, flat-topped clusters at the end of stems and appear in May.

Unlike the closely related Guelder-rose, the flowers are all the same size and all are fertile.

The round, flat fruits, 8 mm long, are red at first, but become black when ripe in late summer.

Facts

  • The fruits are eaten by birds in winter, despite their taste being so unpleasant to humans.

  • The nectar at the bottom of the flower tubes attracts pollinating hover-flies.

  • 'Wayfarer' was a name given by 16th century botanist, John Gerard, to a shrub so common along the lanes of Southern England.

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