1278 Viburnum acerifoliumCommon Names: mapleleaf viburnum,dockmackie Family: Adoxaceae (moschatel Family)
Mapleleaf viburnum is a small, sparsely branched shrub that gets just 3-6 ft (1-2 m) tall. The deciduous leaves are arranged in opposing pairs on the stems and look a lot like maple leaves: 3-lobed, coarsely toothed, and 3-5 in (8-13 cm) long. Leaves are dark green, coloring up to purple, orange or red in fall. In late spring tiny white 5-petaled flowers are borne in showy long-stemmed clusters (cymes), 3 in (8 cm) across. Flowers have five conspicuously exerted stamens. The fruits, one-seeded drupes about a quarter inch (9 mm) long, turn shiny purple-black when ripe and may persist into winter.
Viburnum acerifolium is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario and Quebec , south to northern Florida, and west to Wisconsin and eastern Texas. Mapleleaf viburnum is a shrub of the understory, occurring in upland hardwood forests on hillsides, valleys and ravine slopes. It is a common understory shrub in the northeastern beech-maple and the southeastern beech-magnolia forests.
Light: Mapleleaf viburnum does best in partial, dappled shade, quite well in full shade, and persists in nearly full sun. Moisture: Provide normal watering for this little shrub. It likes a moist soil that drains freely, but can tolerate extended dry periods. Mapleleaf viburnum seems to do best on neutral to slightly acidic soils. It thrives on sandy and rocky soils where other shrubs don’t do so well. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 8 . Material from the Far North may be hardy to zone 3. Propagation: Fast growing greenwood tip cuttings are best started in spring or early summer under mist. Seeds are difficult to start and take at least a year to break dormancy and germinate. They need a warm/cool stratification regime. Sow seeds outside in nursery beds in spring for germination the following spring. Seedlings should be kept shaded.
This little shrub is perfect for naturalizing under hardwoods such as oaks, maples and hickories. Mapleleaf viburnum is one of the few flowering shrubs that do well in heavily shaded situations on dry soils. They even tolerate black walnuts in proximity. They begin flowering as early as two years of age. Mapleleaf viburnum produces suckers and can form loose colonies, which is not a bad thing! Mapleleaf viburnum is sometimes used in informal mixed hedges and borders.
The flowers are visited by butterflies and various birds and small mammals eat the fruits. The foliage is a host for larvae of the spring azure butterfly. Native Americans used decoctions of the inner bark to treat stomach cramps and other ailments.
In older classifications, the viburnums were included in the Caprifoliaceae, the honeysuckle family. Recently, analysis of biochemical evidence has led to splitting off the genera Viburnum, Sambucus (see S. canadensis, American elder), and three others into the family Adoxaceae. There are around 225 species in the family, and nearly 200 in the genus Viburnum.
Steve Christman 1/20/17