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Viburnum opulus - L.                
                 
Common Name Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark, European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb
Family Adoxaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Large quantities of the fruit can cause vomiting and diarrhoea[10, 65]. The fruit is of very low or zero toxicity, it only causes mild upsets when eaten unripe or in large quantities[65, 76].
Habitats Hedges, scrub and woodland, usually on damp soils[3, 13, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, north and west Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Upright or erect .

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Viburnum opulus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 3-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Viburnum opulus Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark,  European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Quartl
Viburnum opulus Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark,  European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Viburnum_opulus_Sturm43.jpg
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 3, 5, 46]. The fruit is up to 8.5mm in diameter but with a large seed[200]. A sour taste, it is best cooked. The crushed fruit has an unpleasant smell[4]. Used as a cranberry substitute in making, jellies, preserves etc[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at top of the page.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Birthing aid;  Homeopathy;  Sedative.

Guelder rose is a powerful antispasmodic and is much used in the treatment of asthma, cramps and other conditions such as colic or painful menstruation[254]. It is also used as a sedative remedy for nervous conditions[254]. The bark is antispasmodic, astringent and sedative[4, 9, 46, 165, 213]. The bark contains 'scopoletin', a coumarin that has a sedative affect on the uterus[238]. A tea is used internally to relieve all types of spasms, including menstrual cramps, spasms after childbirth and threatened miscarriage[9, 222, 238]. It is also used in the treatment of nervous complaints and debility[4, 46, 165, 213]. The bark is harvested in the autumn before the leaves change colour, or in the spring before the leaf buds open. It is dried for later use[238]. The leaves and fruits are antiscorbutic, emetic and laxative[4, 222]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh bark[9]. It is used in the treatment of menstrual pain and spasms after childbirth[9].
Other Uses
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Ink;  Wood.

A red dye is obtained from the fruit[13]. An ink can be made from the dried berries[4]. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge[29], they are rather bare in winter though[K]. The wood can be used to make skewers[4].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[1]. It prefers a deep rich moist loamy soil in a sunny position[11]. Succeeds in semi-shade but does not grow or fruit so well in such a position[186]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and on chalk[184]. Does not do well on very acid soils. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is hardy to about -30°c[184] and is often grown in the flower garden. There are many named varieties[184]. Guelder rose regenerates quickly if it is cut to the ground, it can also produce suckers and will often form thickets[186]. The plant is an alternative host for the broad bean aphid[11]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[80]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[200]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out[113]. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring - pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months[78].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1117200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[3]Simmons. A. E. Growing Unusual Fruit.
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[5]Mabey. R. Food for Free.
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[29]Shepherd. F.W. Hedges and Screens.
A small but informative booklet giving details of all the hedging plants being grown in the R.H.S. gardens at Wisley in Surrey.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[80]McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[186]Beckett. G. and K. Planting Native Trees and Shrubs.
An excellent guide to native British trees and shrubs with lots of details about the plants.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Marko Markkanen Tue Sep 8 2009
In Finland this plant is said to be toxic containing Virbumine, which causes serious intestine inflammation.
Elizabeth H.
Eve Cruse Mon Oct 26 2009
In Central Alberta, Canada where berries are plentiful along some river banks, the berries are used for jam. I harvested and made a few jars yesterday Oct 25, and sometimes my neighbour makes fruit leather and juice.
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