Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur'
Possum-Haw Viburnum, Smooth Witherod
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Family: Moschatel family (Adoxaceae)
Native Habitat: southeastern U.S.


Winterthur is a three-season shrub with a load of appeal. Plus, to add to your gardening fun, it has a couple of really nifty common names. "Possumhaw", "Witherod": what wonderful names. I have searched high and low for the meaning(s) behind, and the origins of, these names and have been "skunked", so to speak.

This lovely, compact Viburnum grows to only about 6 ft. tall after 10 years making it an ideal choice for today's smaller landscapes. Blooming in May, the flat-topped flower clusters are pleasant but Winterthur is definitely not in the top tier of Viburnums as far as flowering goes. However, it does have several characteristics that more than make up for its so-so bloom appeal. Its dark shiny foliage is superb and looks almost as if one had just finished spraying on leaf-shine. The fall color is simply outstanding, displaying hues of  maroon and dark red-purple. The fruit display can be one of the finest of all flowering shrubs. The maturing berry-like drupes start out a stunning bubble-gum pink changing to blueberry-blue and finally to black in autumn. However, there is one caveat: you must plant a different selection of Viburnum nudum or Viburnum cassinoides to act as a cross pollinator. Viburnums as a rule are not self fertile.

Ornamental Characteristics: Glossy, dark-green leaves up to 4" long. Flat-topped clusters of creamy-white flowers in May precede clusters of berry-like drupes in summer. Fruits progress from bubble-gum-pink to blue to black. Incredible fruit interest but a different clone of V. nudum or V. cassinoides needed for abundant fruit set.
Habit & Growth Rate: Multi-stemmed deciduous shrub growing slowly to 6 ft. high. Similar spread.
Landscape Uses: Shrub border, foundation plantings. Deer resistant.
Hardiness: Zone 5 to 9.
Culture: Easily grown in ordinary garden soil. Tolerates a wide range of soils including boggy ones. Full sun to partial shade.
Awards: Gold Medal Plant Award, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society