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I found this shrub in a local nursery, I liked it, and I purchased three of them. However, the nursery guy says it is Viburnum opulus. I don't think he is right. Can you help me ID these shrubs, so that I can find the right home in my garden for them?


Additional info: I live in zone 8a. I have the impression that the shrubs are evergreen, but they could be semi-evergreen. We had several warmer than usual weeks in December. The plants were kept in the open. The nursery guy also says that flowers are small and white, and grouped in round shapes having the size of an apple (that matches more or less V. opulus flowers description to my understanding).

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You're right, that doesn't look like viburnum opulus. It would be helpful to know what hardiness zone you are in to narrow down the options a little bit. My hunch is the nursery worker got his specie mixed up, because this does look like a viburnum to me for sure. The tricky part is that there are loads of viburnums, and without the flower, it's going to be pretty difficult to pin it down exactly. If it's truly evergreen then I suspect this to be Viburnum xpragense, or Prague Viburnum. I'm pretty much basing that on the fact that it is evergreen, has narrow leathery leaves and that is a very common cultivar of viburnum.

  • Thanks, Tyler. I updated the question with some info that you mentioned. I also suspected they are V. pragense or V. rhytidophylum, but the leaves are not that elongated. – VividD Jan 4 '18 at 17:04
  • It looks to me that the plant is flowering in early spring, ant the bud in the last picture seems to be a flower bud. – VividD Jan 4 '18 at 17:10
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It reminds me to Eriobotrya japonica: colour of leaves (especially the bottom type), and the flower buds, and habits (trunk).

On the other hand the shape of the leaves is not really how I recall (but your plants are young, and internet had also more variate shapes of leaves), and it is not a shrub, but a large tree.

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Viburnum rhytidophyllumYou are right, this isn't Viburnum opulus. The opulus leaves look like...duck feet? I think it is the Leather Leaf Viburnum; Viburnum rhytidophyllum. The tomentoseness (is that a word)? rather the fuzziness of undersides of leaves, stems as well as flower stalks are pretty definitive for this species. Grand plant.

Yours however, I hope were on sale. I'd get these guys transplanted in fresh potting soil like now and check the roots for browning and rot. Check with the nursery on last date of fertilizer as well as formulation. These are large evergreen shrubs, great for a park like setting, privacy. You need to get them healthy before planting in the landscape. Zone 8a, right? Yup, evergreen all year round.

This plant is a coarse texture. Coarse textures on the periphery make for a smaller seeming space. Fine textures, enlarge a space. Depends on what you want to do. Coarse textures, large patterns that you can see from a distance trick your mind into thinking they are closer than they really are. Fine textures such as your Lespo shrub, since you are unable to see the detail clearly, recede into the background causing a more expansive feeling to the scene. Same with fencing if you ever do any on your property in the future. Grapestake fences, fences with fine texture, dove gray will recede. Board and Baton fences with obvious texture easily seen from a distance will come forward making a space...more intimate. For colors, black recedes and white comes forward. Gray belongs in the landscape where a purple wall will stand out as a focal point. Sorry, I know this sounds off the beaten track but for you and your landscape, I think you are at the point where having more information will help you choose plants and have better ideas of what you want to create.

Leather Leaf Viburnum

Edit: There is a good chance you will not be able to ID this plant's genetics by its phenotype. Lots of hybrids are grown as Leatherleaf Viburnum needs a partner, it is not self pollinating. This could be Leatherleaf X Opulus, or Leatherleaf X Mariesii. This article I posted talks about that very thing being a problem with ID. The proper name for your plant (without a DNA test) would be Viburnum X rhytidophylloides not V. rhytidophyllum. The latter they want to reserve for the full blooded (grins) Leatherleaf Viburnum. This is the best I am able to do based on a picture. Still waiting for better ID's myself. See, I was always able to SEE the actual plant, I actually taught plant ID three semesters taking my class out of doors for lab. They had to ID for tests via a branch or bud in class and I'd take them to different plants different locations on campus they'd not seen during lab I rarely did any work with plants by pictures. Seeing, touching, feeling is very different than a flat 2D picture. I did better IDing by looking through microscopes at previously frozen flowers and using a book 2" thick of a dichotomous key. Ugh. I am practicing IDing via pictures. Always nice to have wrong answers to help support the right answer? But so far, I haven't seen a better one.

This is what your plants should look like coming from the nursery. The baby plant in the picture is not suffering from cold and as it matures the leaves become heavier and do the hanging down thing. It will not look like this as a mature shrub. Leather leaf viburnum in 6" pot

  • It is not a leatherleaf viburnum. Leaf shape doesn't match. – VividD Jan 7 '18 at 5:20
  • The shape of the leaves are different with different micro environments. Certainly is not opulus...this is one of my fav genus types. Leatherleaf is a lot different than other viburnums. Let's see what others come up with? Yet it was one of your own ID's grins. I think you were right. Rhytidophyllum, Leather leaf. Someone will most certainly come along to tell us Stormy is wrong...again. And that is a good thing. – stormy Jan 7 '18 at 5:27
  • This is the normal look of V. rhyitidophyllum during freezing temparatures: researchgate.net/profile/Tomasz_Wyka/publication/268575338/… – VividD Jan 11 '18 at 18:13
  • This is why Master Gardeners are supposed to never do ID or any diagnosing by just pictures. I've lived with Leatherleaf viburnum for decades...planted thousands of them. There are few viburnums that are so tomentose. – stormy Jan 11 '18 at 23:46
  • Look at V. pragense and carlesii...crosscreeknursery.com/uploads/3/9/8/3/39833231/9599073_orig.jpg google.com/… – stormy Jan 11 '18 at 23:52

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