Viburnum rhytidophyllum

Leatherleaf Viburnum




  • native to central and western China
  • hardy to zone 5

Habit and Form

  • a large, evergreen shrub
  • multistemmed
  • reaching 10' to 15' tall or taller
  • width is similar to height
  • upright habit
  • shrub opens with age
  • coarse texture
  • medium growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • opposite, simple leaves
  • evergreen
  • lanceolate leaf shape
  • 3" to 7" long
  • rounded leaf base and pointed apex
  • entire leaf margin
  • lush dark green leaf color
  • rough textured leaf
  • tomentose
  • vegetative buds are naked

Autumn Foliage

  • no fall color


  • yellowish-white flowers
  • blooms mid-May
  • 4" to 8" rounded clusters
  • showy
  • fragrant


  • red maturing to black drupes
  • drupe is oval in shape
  • ripens in September
  • each fruit cluster can display all colors at the same time
  • quite showy in fruit
  • best fruiting occurs when several clones are planted together


  • light gray brown
  • tomentose


  • prefers well-drained soil
  • protect from wind
  • tolerant of shade
  • easily transplanted and established
  • prune tolerant

Landscape Use

  • mass plantings
  • for evergreen leaves
  • for coarse texture
  • background
  • useful for flowers and fruit
  • to attract birds


  • few serious insect or disease problems

ID Features

  • naked, fuzzy buds
  • large evergreen leaves
  • large clustered flower buds
  • large naked vegetative buds
  • opposite, lanceolate, simple leaves
  • smooth leaf margin
  • coarse, stout branching


  • by cuttings
  • by seed


'Cree' - This form has smaller leaves than the species (to 6" long) and may be slightly more cold hardy. It flowers abundantly and may represent a slight improvement over the species.

'Roseum' - The only notable feature of this selection are the pink flower buds that open to flowers that are as per the species. Other features are the same, as well.

'Variegatum' - A novelty for the collector, this plant is seldom offered and notable only for the irregular splashes of creamy white on some of the leaves. The effect is inconsistent and the plant frequently reverts to green growth.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.