Darrell Blackwelder: Blackhaw: Lovely blooms, and hardy too

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 14, 2019

You may see a smattering of white blooms dotting the woods and outlying areas in Rowan County.

From far away the small blooms resemble that of Bradford pear or dogwood, but closer observation reveals the bloom as that of the blackhaw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium).

These small, deciduous trees with snowy, white flowers are now in full bloom and readily found on the edge of woodlands or fields. The shrub often evolves into a small tree reaching a height of 15 feet.

This endogenous shrub or small tree is in the honeysuckle family, and can be found from Virginia down to Florida and to the Mid-West.

As the showy flowers fade away, the tree forms small, shiny leaves, inconspicuously fading into wooded areas producing small, black fruit. The fruit ripens in the fall, a ready source of food for songbirds, squirrels and chipmunks; however, the tree and fruit are deer resistant.

Blackhaw is a tough plant with virtually no insect or disease problems and can tolerate both drought and varying soil pH levels. The native plant can be propagated by seeds or cuttings from an existing tree or shrub.

Visit  https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/viburnum-prunifolium/ for more detailed information.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulturalist in Rowan County with the NC Cooperative Extension Service. deblackw@ncsu.edu