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viburnum opulus - L.

Common Name Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark, European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb
Family Adoxaceae
USDA hardiness 3-8
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 Hedges, scrub and woodland, usually on damp soils[3, 13, 17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, north and west Asia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
viburnum opulus Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark,  European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb


commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Quartl
viburnum opulus Guelder Rose, Cramp Bark,  European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Viburnum_opulus_Sturm43.jpg

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Upright or erect .


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
viburnum opulus is a deciduous Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
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 and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 3, 5, 46]. The fruit is up to 8.5mm in diameter but with a large seed[200]. A sour taste, it is best cooked. The crushed fruit has an unpleasant smell[4]. Used as a cranberry substitute in making, jellies, preserves etc[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at top of the page.

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.

Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Birthing aid;  Homeopathy;  Sedative.

Guelder rose is a powerful antispasmodic and is much used in the treatment of asthma, cramps and other conditions such as colic or painful menstruation[254]. It is also used as a sedative remedy for nervous conditions[254]. The bark is antispasmodic, astringent and sedative[4, 9, 46, 165, 213]. The bark contains 'scopoletin', a coumarin that has a sedative affect on the uterus[238]. A tea is used internally to relieve all types of spasms, including menstrual cramps, spasms after childbirth and threatened miscarriage[9, 222, 238]. It is also used in the treatment of nervous complaints and debility[4, 46, 165, 213]. The bark is harvested in the autumn before the leaves change colour, or in the spring before the leaf buds open. It is dried for later use[238]. The leaves and fruits are antiscorbutic, emetic and laxative[4, 222]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh bark[9]. It is used in the treatment of menstrual pain and spasms after childbirth[9].

Other Uses

Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Ink;  Wood.

A red dye is obtained from the fruit[13]. An ink can be made from the dried berries[4]. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge[29], they are rather bare in winter though[K]. The wood can be used to make skewers[4].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Screen, Specimen. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[1]. It prefers a deep rich moist loamy soil in a sunny position[11]. Succeeds in semi-shade but does not grow or fruit so well in such a position[186]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and on chalk[184]. Does not do well on very acid soils. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is hardy to about -30°c[184] and is often grown in the flower garden. There are many named varieties[184]. Guelder rose regenerates quickly if it is cut to the ground, it can also produce suckers and will often form thickets[186]. The plant is an alternative host for the broad bean aphid[11]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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Propagation

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

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

North America, USA,

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
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Viburnum cotinifolium 30
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Viburnum dilatatumLinden Viburnum, Linden arrowwood31
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Viburnum erubescens 21
Viburnum erubescens gracilipes 20
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Viburnum fordiae 10
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Viburnum odoratissimumSweet Viburnum10
Viburnum opulusGuelder Rose, Cramp Bark, European cranberrybush, American cranberrybush, Crampbark, European Highb33
Viburnum phlebotrichum 10
Viburnum plicatumJapanese Snowball, Japanese Snowball Viburnum, Doublefile Viburnum10
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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

1117200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Marko Markkanen   Tue Sep 8 2009

In Finland this plant is said to be toxic containing Virbumine, which causes serious intestine inflammation.

Eve Cruse   Mon Oct 26 2009

In Central Alberta, Canada where berries are plentiful along some river banks, the berries are used for jam. I harvested and made a few jars yesterday Oct 25, and sometimes my neighbour makes fruit leather and juice.

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