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Viburnum lantana

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Viburnum lantana, the wayfarer or wayfaring tree, is a species of Viburnum, native to central, southern and western Europe (north to Yorkshire in England), northwest Africa, and southwestern Asia.<ref name=fe>Flora Europaea: Viburnum lantana</ref><ref name=blamey>Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Template:ISBN</ref><ref name=rhs>Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan Template:ISBN.</ref> The vigorous deciduous European treelike shrub is common along waysides.

Description

It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to Template:Convert tall. The leaves are opposite, simple oval to lanceolate, Template:Convert wide and Template:Convert broad, with a finely serrated margin; they are densely downy on the underside, less so on the upper surface. The hermaphrodite flowers are small, around Template:Convert, and creamy-white, produced in dense cymes Template:Convert width at the top of the stems; they are produced in early summer, and pollinated by insects. The fruit is an oblong drupe Template:Convert long, green at first, turning red, then finally black at full maturity, and contains a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the fruit, then deposit the seeds in another location in their droppings.<ref name=blamey/><ref name=rhs/>

An older name for the plant is hoarwithy. "Hoar" means grey-haired and refers to the hairs under the leaves, and "withy" means a pliant stem.<ref>Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Britain p.87.</ref>

Cultivation and uses

It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers and berries, growing best on alkaline soils. A number of cultivars have been selected, including 'Aureum', with yellow leaves in spring.<ref name=rhs/>

The fruit is mildly toxic, and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if consumed in large quantities.<ref name=pfaf>Plants for a Future: Viburnum lantana</ref>

References

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