What’s blooming in Prem’s yard? Nannyberry

By Premsri Barton
Member and Program Committee Volunteer, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Large cluster flower

Nannyberry’s (Viburnum lentago) showy flower clusters

Plant name: Nannyberry, sheepberry, sweet viburnum (Viburnum lentago)

Description: This plant is a native large shrub or small tree in Northeastern and Midwestern states. It’s also found from southern Canada to Kentucky and Virginia. It has large clusters of small flowers, which are very showy.

Why I choose this plant: It’s a very tough small tree! It grows back after I cut the whole thing down to the ground and has very profuse blooms. The beautiful shining green leaves turn copper-orange color in the fall. It will bear fruit that many birds like. It’s edible too! This is the first year it bloomed for me, and I can’t wait to try the berries.

Bush with flowers

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) small tree or bush

Visitors: I am the only visitor so far. Reportedly, butterflies are the common visitors. I will keep my eyes on them. It is a larval host to Spring Azure (Celastrina “ladon”). I saw a bird nest in the middle of the bush last year.

Environment: It prefers loamy soil and slight shade. Mine is planted in full sun and somewhat clay-ish soil, well drained.

United States Department of Agriculture 
Missouri Botanical Garden 
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 
Illinois Wildflowers
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)

Where to purchase: MDC (in spring) and Forest Releaf.

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