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Viburnum dilatatum is a common shrub in the lowlands and foothills of mountains in Japan, China and South Korea. The leaves are shaped like those of a lime tree (Tilia species), with conspicuous parallel veins, and often turn red or purple in the autumn. The berries are slightly elongated, with a dark spot (the remains of the flower) at the tip. Both red-fruited and yellow-fruited forms are cultivated.

Viburnum dilatatum (linden viburnum)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Linden viburnum is a large shrub with neat, round leaves and flat heads of small white flowers followed by red, or sometimes yellow, fleshy berries.

Viburnum dilatatum is a common shrub in the lowlands and foothills of mountains in Japan, China and South Korea. The leaves are shaped like those of a lime tree (Tilia species), with conspicuous parallel veins, and often turn red or purple in the autumn. The berries are slightly elongated, with a dark spot (the remains of the flower) at the tip. Both red-fruited and yellow-fruited forms are cultivated.

Linden viburnum was introduced into cultivation in Europe from Japan in 1875. It is more commonly cultivated in North America, where several cultivars have been selected. 

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to Japan and northern China.

Description

Overview: Linden viburnum is a branching shrub growing up to 3 m tall.

Leaves: The leaves, which are held opposite each other on the stem, are broadly ovate or egg-shaped, finely and evenly toothed, 3-12 cm long and 2-8 cm wide. The leaves have around seven pairs of parallel veins, the lower pairs branching again, and are often purplish in spring, turning red or purple in autumn. 

Flowers: The small, pure-white flowers are borne in flat or slightly rounded heads.

Fruits: The berries are ovoid, about 5 mm long and are red (or yellow in the form Viburnum dilatatum f. xanthocarpum ).

Threats & Conservation

There is no indication that Viburnum dilatatum is threatened in the wild. It is commonly cultivated in North America. Samples of V. dilatatum seeds have been stored in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank as an ex situ conservation measure.

Uses

Popular as an ornamental for shrubberies, windbreaks or light shade in open woodland, linden viburnum is grown particularly for its colourful berries in the autumn. The leaves, stems and berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The berries are cooked to make a soup used in the treatment of snake bite, dysentery and as a vermifuge.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: Two

Cultivation

Linden viburnum can be grown easily in good soil with reasonable drainage. Other viburnums such as Viburnum opulus (guelder rose) tolerate waterlogged soil.

This species at Kew

Viburnum dilatatum is grown in the area between the Palm House and King William's Temple at Kew. At Wakehurst, V. dilatatum can be seen growing on the slope above the study centre in Westwood Valley.

Preserved specimens of V. dilatatum are held in the Herbarium, one of the behind-the-scenes areas of Kew. The details of one of these can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

The Economic Botany Collection contains samples of leaves and wood from V. dilatatum , which are available to researchers by appointment.

Distribution
China, Japan
Ecology
Scrub on hills and low mountains.
Conservation
Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria, but not considered to be at risk in the wild.
Hazards

Raw berries inedible; cooked berries edible but best avoided. Birds are slow to eat them in winter.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental, traditional medicine.

Native to:

China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Japan, Korea, Taiwan

Introduced into:

Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia

English
Linden viburnum

Viburnum dilatatum Thunb. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in J.A.Murray (ed.), Syst. Veg. ed. 14: 295 (1784)

Accepted by

  • Chang, C.S., Kim, H. & Chang, K.S. (2014). Provisional checklist of vascular plants for the Korea peninsula flora (KPF): 1-660. DESIGNPOST.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2014). Vascular Flora of Illinois. A Field Guide, ed. 4: 1-536. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
  • Werier, D. (2017). Catalogue of the Vascular plants of New York state Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club 27: 1-542.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2011). Flora of China 19: 1-884. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Anon (1985). Woody Plants of Japan (illustrated). Yama-kai, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Bean, W. J. (1980). Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles (8th edition revised). John Murray, London.
  • Duke, J.A. & Ayensu, E.S. (1985). Medicinal plants of China, Vol. 1. Reference Publications, Algonac, Michigan.
  • The Plant List, Version 1 (2010). Viburnum dilatatum.
  • Zhong Guo Yao Cai Gong Si (Chinese Herbal Materia Medica State Company) (1994). Synopsis of Traditional Chinese Medicine Resources. Traditional Chinese Medica Resource Series, Science Press.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Chang, C.S., Kim, H. & Chang, K.S. (2014). Provisional checklist of vascular plants for the Korea peninsula flora (KPF): 1-660. DESIGNPOST.
  • Mohlenbrock, R.H. (2014). Vascular Flora of Illinois. A Field Guide, ed. 4: 1-536. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
  • USDA, NRCS ( 2021-continuously updated). Natural Resources Conservation Services Plant Database http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=checklist.html.
  • Werier, D. (2017). Catalogue of the Vascular plants of New York state Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club 27: 1-542.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2011). Flora of China 19: 1-884. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0