Blackhaw Viburnum: A Great Candidate for the Edible-Ornamental Landscape

By Trevor Newman

The air is cool and the breeze sweeps the leaves beneath your feet. Sunlight shines upon the trees casting a glorious display of fall colors — with hues of orange, yellow, and red — providing us with warmth  before the cold winter months ahead. Nestled amongst this sightly landscape sits the shrubby Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium). A relative of Highbush Cranberry, blackhaws stand at a medium height of 10′-12′ and remain rather slender, providing the ideal structure for a privacy-screen or windbreak. In late spring we’re greeted by it’s dense clusters of creamy-white blooms, which are a special attraction to butterflys. The prolific spring flowering suggests that an abundance of fruit will soon follow, which is very true indeed. In October, Blackhaw boasts fruitfulness with it’s overyielding showcase of blueish-black 1/4″-1/2″ oval shaped fruits. These tasty fruits contain an inedible disc-shaped seed on the inside with a thin layer of dry flesh between that and the flaky skin. The flavor of the fruit resembles that of dates or prunes, with a nice sweetness and subtle smoky flavor. By no means are these small fruits a significant food source, but they provide a tasty nibble throughout fall and even through winter as they hang dried on the branches. However, Blackhaw’s #1 highlight is it’s stunning fall foliage. Similar to the popular and far too common– Burning Bush, the leaves turn a firey crimson-red which creates a gorgeous contrast against the dull grey bark and dark blue fruit.

Here we have a plant that is very aesthetically pleasing, functional — for use as a privacy hedge or windbreak, and productive — yielding a delecious edible fruit. It could not get much better than this. If you’re feeling drawn to this type of landscaping and are ready to transform your yard to a more exciting, useful, and beautiful landscape, then visit our contact page to schedule a consultation today!

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