Hobblebush


Hobblebush (Viburnum alnifolium)

Description:

One of our showiest plants throughout the year, although these shrubs are so rare that few Islanders have had the chance to see them. Growing to a height of 6 ft. (2 m), hobblebush has opposite, velvety buds that develop into large, heart-shaped leaves which turn bronze in the fall. The flowers form large, flat clusters and are very white. The berries turn a very attractive cranberry red in late August and finally purple-black when fully ripe.

 

Growing Conditions:

Like so many of our rare plants, these favour shade and rich soil and are usually found in mixed wood stands.

Propagation:

The plant gets its name because if the tips bend down and touch the ground, roots can form and the shrub can literally “hobble” you as you walk through the woods. The easiest way to grow this shrub is from seed. When ripe in mid-to-late September, the seeds are mashed by hand to break up the fruit and planted every 2 in. (5 cm) in rows 4 in. (10 cm) apart, at a depth of 1/4 in. (6 mm). Seeds generally take two years to germinate and should be lightly mulched and given light shade. Any that germinate the first summer should be transplanted to a separate nursery bed under light shade and mulched well.

Wildlife Uses:

Hobblebush produces heavy crops of berries, which are used by ruffed grouse, pine grosbeak, Swainson’s thrush and other birds. Although it is not listed as a preferred food by most wildlife manuals, for several years now the heavy seed crops have vanished quite quickly, so they obviously are favoured by some birds.

Areas of Usage:

A premier landscape plant if you have any shade at all around your home, especially given its attractiveness throughout the year. It works best in a naturalized situation, perhaps in a wild area under larger trees. It is also important in woodland plantings, not only for its beauty but for its heavy seed crops for wildlife and the diversity it provides.

Upcoming Events

Sep
15
Sun
1:00 pm Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Fourth Annual Festival of Forests
Sep 15 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Our Fourth Annual Festival of Forests will be a family-friendly event, with children’s activities, guided walks, food and micro-workshops. This will be a great opportunity to explore the wonders of the Acadian Forest.
Sep
21
Sat
7:00 pm September Stargazing
September Stargazing
Sep 21 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Learn about the night sky and get to know some constellations. This outing will teach some basics of astronomy and then head out into the dark for naked-eye stargazing
Oct
13
Sun
2:00 pm Autumn in the Forest
Autumn in the Forest
Oct 13 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
A walk along the trails of Macphail Woods, looking at both plants and animals. This is a great outing for people of all ages.

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