Viburnum plicatum tomentosum
Doublefile Viburnum or Double File Viburnum
(Caprifoliaceae - Honeysuckle Family)
- medium-sized ornamental shrub
- maturing at about 8' tall by 10' wide
- layered vased growth habit in youth, becoming more layered horizontal with age
- medium growth rate
- full sun to partial shade
- performs best in partial sun in evenly moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils; it is quite adaptable to soils of various pH, but not especially adaptable to poor soils, compacted soils, heavy clay soils with poor drainage, heat, drought, and pollution
- propagated primarily by rooted stem cuttings
- Honeysuckle Family, with no pests causing significant problems, but a branch canker on old, mature plants is the primary disease of concern, causing individual branches to die back to the ground on occasion
- commonly available, primarily in ball and burlap form
- medium- to dark green, opposite, ovate to elliptical, serrated, with impressed veins and a pubescence on the petiole and lower leaf surface
- foliage will diurnally wilt during the driest portions of Summer
- fall color is usually an attractive wine, maroon, or burgandy color, and persistent for two to four weeks in mid- to late Autumn
- white, in early May, atop 2" long peduncles above the angled stem plane and also in a "double file" on either side of the stem, effective for two weeks
- flat-topped fertile inflorescences are creamy-white, to 3" in diameter, and open shortly after the more showy outer ring of sterile flowers open first; one of the most showy shrubs when in flower
- pollination (and subsequent heavy fruit set) might be encouraged by planting two or more different cultivars of the fertile variety tomentosum in close proximity
- shrubs often do not set fruit due to a lack of appropriate cross-pollination, but when fruits do occur, they transition from green to pink-orange-red in mid-Summer, mature to black by September, and then either abscise or are consumed by the birds
- if fruits have been borne, the red pedicels and peduncles persist into Autumn, and are very attractive against the dark green foliage, or sometimes after the foliage has abscised (similar in ornamental appeal as with Gray Dogwood [Cornus racemosa])
- brown, pubescent to tomentose, with Winter vegetative and floral buds somewhat elongated and pressed closely to the primary stems, with the floral buds slightly swollen and distinctly valvate
- floral buds may also occur at the terminus of the short lateral twigs on more mature shrubs, with the twigs arising as opposite pairs along the main branches in a fishbone branching pattern
- older branches develop fissuring bark as they mature into several main trunks; this is more pronounced on the larger "species form", namely Viburnum plicatum
- ID Summary
- highly ornamental shrub that usually displays a vased to horizontal growth habit due to the angled stems and branches, which give rise to opposite, pendulous foliage that is deeply veined, pubescent on the leaf undersides and petioles (and extending to the first- and second-year stems), and has excellent burgandy fall color
- inflorescences (composed of an outer sterile ring of showy white flowers surrounding an inner circle of creamy-white flowers) occur either directly from the main stems, or terminating the short lateral stems; in either case rising about 2" above the angled stem plane and occuring on either side of the main stem in a "double file", often not giving rise to similarly-arranged red-orange fruits with more-persistent fruiting stalks of the same color, due to poor pollination
- single, dual, or group planting shrub for entranceways, foundations, raised planters, naturalized shrub borders, or as a specimen
- medium texture in foliage and when bare
- thick density in foliage and when bare
- extremely showy white inflorescences in mid-Spring, arranged in doublefile fashion alongside the main stems and above the stem planes
- excellent vased to horizontal branching habit
- good burgandy fall color
- basal trunk canker can arise on individual branches with advanced age, causing them to die one-at-a-time
- marginally hardy in severe zone 5 Winters, and best placed in a wind-protected site in zone 5 for this reason
- foliage will diurnally wilt during the driest portions of Summer
- zones 5 to 8
- native to China and Japan
- horizontal or vased branching habit found in shrubs (Euonymus alatus, Hibiscus syriacus, etc.) or companion trees (Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood', Cornus kousa, Crataegus crus-galli, Crataegus viridis 'Winter King', Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan', Ulmus americana 'Delaware', Zelkova serrata, etc.)
- shrubs with very showy Spring inflorescences (Forsythia x intermedia, Rhododendron catawbiense, Spiraea nipponica 'Snowmound', Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', Viburnum carlesii, etc.)
- Viburnum plicatum - the true "species" form which is actually sterile, having been discovered and named before the normal fertile form was found, noted for its large size (to 15' tall and 15' wide), with huge showy snowball flowers that emerge lime green and transition to white, persistent into Summer and slowly fading and dropping the showy florets
- Viburnum plicatum 'Newport' (also known as 'Nanum Newport') - a compact cutlivar of the sterile "species" form, slowly maturing to 4' tall and 5' wide with a globed habit, densely foliaged with shorter internodes, having sterile snowball inflorescences that mature to white, excellent burgandy fall color, and optimally utilized as a specimen, foundation, or facer shrub
- Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii' - the most popular form, maturing at about 8' tall by 10' wide, with a 45 degree angle to the horizontal in its graceful branching, and eventually with a herring-bone arrangement of lateral stems along the angled main branches, both of which give rise to a dense display of beautiful white flowers in early May, usually with sparse to non-existent red fruits (and also missing the attractive red peduncles and pedicels) in a double file above the stems; leaves hang pendulous on either side of the branches for a "dog-ear" effect; one of the best Viburnums for the Midwest, although marginally hardy in severe zone 5 Winters; several different clones or mislabellings occur in the trade with this cultivar
- Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Shasta' - inflorescences are about 5" across, on a very spreading and horizontal shrub, to 6' tall by 10' wide
- Viburnum is the classical Latin name for Wayfaringtree Viburnum.
- plicatum translates as "pleated", referring to the dense, sequential, hanging leaf arrangement from the stems.
- tomentosum translates as "dense hairs", referring to the tomentosity of the younger stems, petioles, and leaf undersides.
- The common name comes from the fact that the flowers are borne in dual rows on either sides of the stems, in a plane above the stem, and hence "doublefile".
- Doublefile Viburnum is one of the best ornamental shrubs for its combination of layered branching habit, Spring inflorescences, Summer foliage, and Autumn color.
- Viburnum plicatum tomentosum is known for its elegant beauty in form, flowering, occasional fruiting, and fall color, and having cultivars that vary in the display of these traits.
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