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Viburnum trilobum - Marshall.
Common Name American Cranberry, Highbush Cranberry, Cranberrybush, American Cranberrybush Viburnum
Family Adoxaceae
USDA hardiness 2-7
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 Stream banks[62]. Low moist ground[235].
Range N. America - Newfoundland to British Columbia, New Jersey, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota and Oregon.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Late spring. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect.

Viburnum trilobum American Cranberry,  Highbush Cranberry, Cranberrybush,  American Cranberrybush  Viburnum

Viburnum trilobum American Cranberry,  Highbush Cranberry, Cranberrybush,  American Cranberrybush  Viburnum
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Viburnum trilobum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Viburnum opulus trilobum. V. opulus americanum. Ait.

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[3, 11, 161, 257]. Juicy but acid, the taste is best after a frost[62, 101, 102]. The fruits are rich in vitamin C, they are an excellent substitute for cranberries and are used in preserves, jams etc[183]. A jam made from the fruit has a very pleasant flavour that goes well in a porridge[K]. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains a single large seed[200].
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.

Emetic;  Febrifuge;  Laxative;  Stomachic;  Women's complaints.

An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of prolapse of the uterus[257]. A decoction has been given to babies with fevers[257]. A decoction of the branches has been used to treat a fallen womb after birth[257]. The bark is laxative[257]. An infusion of the roots has been used to make a person vomit in the treatment of bad blood and fevers[257]. An infusion of the inner bark has been used to treat stomach cramps[257].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Foundation, Massing, Screen, Specimen, Winter interest. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[1]. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Established plants are drought tolerant[160]. Prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[11, 200]. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[200]. This species is considered by some botanists to be no more than a superior fruiting form of V. opulus that was taken to America by early settlers[11]. Occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties[183]. The fruit is very attractive to birds[160]. Some reports say that this species is self-fertile[17, 200] whilst others say it is self-incompatible[11]. It is probably best to grow at least two different cultivars in order to produce fruit and fertile seed[11, 200]. Special Features: North American native, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.
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].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Readers comment
Bruce D. Parfitt   Sun Mar 17 20:30:12 2002
Link: Viburnum trilobum; shade gardening thorough
michael finley   Thu Aug 6 2009
In Canada, this is usually treated as a N. American subspecies of V. opulus. We call it high bush Cranberry. The raw fruit is really nearly inedible (and some say it is only the raw fruit that can cause stomach upsets -- though I doubt one could eat enough of the raw fruit to find out!). Some people here in Saskatchewan relish high bush cranberry pie. It's cooked without removing the large flat seeds, which is simply crunched up and eaten. Particularly when fresh, the fruit has a strong smell which many people find quite objectionable -- like old socks or worse. If picked after frost or frozen before cooking, the smell is reduced. Adding lemon juice also tames this berry. If these precautions are taken, the berry does make a nice jelly, or the base for a "cranberry-aide" drink that is liked even by people who think the pie peculiar. Since this sounds like damning with faint praise, I should add that the fruit makes up for many faults by being very abundant in some places, such as prairie river valleys, here in western Canada.
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Subject : Viburnum trilobum  

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