The Onondaga Viburnum

In Zone 3b, one of the most outstanding flowering shrubs is the Onondaga Viburnum, Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’. In our garden it is in bloom now, hopefully much to the appreciation of my neighbor, who sees the best view of it over his north  fence! I have yet to do it justice in photographs, as a lightly overcast  and windless day is needed – but here are a few snapshots of this fine viburnum.

Onondaga in the garden
Onondaga in the garden

The ‘flower’ is a actually a corymb about 5-15 cm across. It is interesting because it consists of an outer-ring of larger white, infertile flowers with an inner massing of the actual reproductive flowers. The infertile flowers are believed to be highly visible to attract pollinators, who, once near by, cannot fail to notice the smaller, juicier inner flowers.

Corymb detail
Corymb detail
Onondaga Viburnum
Corymb with flowers closed.
The corymb with central flowers open.
The corymb with central flowers open.

In our garden it is vase-shaped, reaching a height of about 3.5m with a spread of about 3m at the top. It has dark bronze-purple maple-like foliage in spring that ages to dark green in summer. In autumn it then turns red-purple. In winter the red drupes remain to feed the winter birds. We have had this shrub for over 15 years and there has been no pest or suckering problems to date.


2 thoughts on “The Onondaga Viburnum

  1. It’s a lovely viburnum. The pink is a very nice contrast.

    I don’t know a lot about them, but love their lacy look. There is a similiar one (all white) in the ravine that I see on my walks…I wonder if it is a native viburnum or perhaps the seeds were carried there by birds from one someones garden?


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