1255 Viburnum ‘Eskimo’Common Names: Eskimo viburnum,service viburnum Family: Adoxaceae (viburnum Family)
Eskimo viburnum is a complex hybrid with 3-species parentage, developed by the horticulturalists at the United States National Arboretum. This is a compact, rounded shrub, rarely getting more than 4-5 ft (120-150 cm) high with about the same diameter. The semi-evergreen leaves, ovate and around 4 in (10 cm) long, are leathery and shiny dark green, turning attractive shades of yellow, orange or reddish in fall. As in all viburnums, the leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. Eskimo viburnum flower buds start out cream colored, tinged with pink, then open to snow-white tubular flowers about a half inch (1.5 cm) across, arranged in abundant spherical clusters. The flower clusters (technically, corymbs) are almost 4 in (10 cm) in diameter, and from a distance look like snowballs. Later in the season, red fruits (technically, drupes) develop that eventually ripen to black.
The parents of Viburnum ‘Eskimo’ include V. utile, which is native to China; and V. x carlcephalum ‘Cayuga’ which is itself a selection from a hybridization between V. carlesii (native to Korea and Japan) and V. macrocephalum (native to China). Viburnum ‘Eskimo’ was registered and released to the public by the United States National Arboretum in 1981, and has become a very popular ornamental shrub within its suitable growing range.
Light: Eskimo viburnum will have its best flowering in full sun, but it does quite well under part-time shade. Moisture: Water regularly in the summer. Eskimo viburnum likes a moist but well drained soil and tolerates a wide range of soil types. It does best in a rich loam, though. Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 8 . Eskimo viburnum is normally tardily deciduous, but may act more like an evergreen in warmer climates. Propagation: Greenwood cuttings and semi-ripe shoots taken in spring or early summer are easily rooted, especially under mist.
The snowball flower clusters of Eskimo viburnum can be incredibly profuse, making this one of the most attractive small shrubs for the home gardener. Use the slow growing Eskimo viburnum as a standalone specimen for its stunning snowball flower clusters, attractive fruits and pretty fall foliage. Or, use in mixed hedges or borders or as foundation plants. Eskimo viburnum tolerates pretty severe pruning so you can shape it as you wish. Some folks grow this little beauty in containers.
Birds, squirrels and other small animals will eat the fruits. Deer seem to have little interest.
The United States National Arboretum was established by an act of congress in 1927, and given the mission to enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretative gardens and exhibits. The Arboretum is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.
Eskimo viburnum is just one of over 650 different woody and herbaceous ornamental plants that horticulturalists at the Arboretum have developed and released to the American public during its 80 year history. Viburnums must be among the researchers’ favorites: Over the years they have developed and released 20 different viburnum cultivars!
Steve Christman 3/10/16