it a viburnum?
Guide to viburnums by David Swaciak.
Leaf drawings by
images by Paul Weston & Craig Cramer
To get started, choose one of the following,
or see How to use this guide (below).
How to use this guide:
- I know the common name of my viburnum.
I want to know the scientific name.
Go to Common Names.
- I'm not sure if my plant is a viburnum.
Go to Is it a viburnum?
- I know my plant is a viburnum.
I want to figure out what species it is.
Go to Which viburnum is it?
- This guide does not include all viburnum species. There are more than 150 species worldwide. This guide will help you identify the ones you are most likely to encounter in the range of the viburnum leaf beetle in the Northeast U.S. and eastern Canada. It's possible that the your viburnum is not included in this guide. For a complete list of viburnums included in this guide, see the common name or scientific name lists.
- Use this guide when leaves are present. This key relies heavily on leaf characteristics. It is helpful to know fruit and flower color and other characteristics that may not be present throughout the growing season. But in most cases you'll just need leaves.
- Gather several stems from each plant before you begin. Viburnum leaves can be quite variable in size and shape, even on the same plant. Try to gather a representative sample. If possible, cut off several stems with a few leaves attached and bring them back to your computer.
- Work through the "key." With your leaves in hand, you'll work through a series of webpages to determine if you have a viburnum and/or which species you have. It's set up just like a key that you may be familiar with if you've identified plants before. On each page, you'll be asked to observe different features of the leaf or stem. Chose the description that best fits your viburnum. If you're unsure, choose the one that makes the most sense to you. You can always use your browser's the back button to retrace your steps or jump back to the beginning and start over.
Caution: Don't take the individual steps in the key out of context. For example: One step in the Is it a viburnum? key says that if there are stipules present, you have a viburnum. That does not mean that all viburnums have stipules. Each step in the guide had to be taken within the context of the steps leading up to it.
- See the ID Tutorial. The ID Tutorial explains in more detail how to make some of the observations. We also provide tips along the way.
- Try the Express Key. Once you've had some practice working through the webpages, you may want to try the express key. It offers the whole process on a single page without photographs or other details. There is also a printer-friendly .pdf version that you can print and take to the field with you.
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