Friday, May 27, 2016

Linden viburnum - Viburnum dilatatum

I went for a nice walk with my cousin in Rockefeller State Park Preserve yesterday evening. He identified a number of the plants there for me. This one is of particular interest, because it is a non-native reported as becoming more widespread in natural areas.

Viburnum dilatatum
Honestly, I don't think it would have stood out to me as anything out-of-the-ordinary. Very little is known about the potential ecological impacts of its spread, but it is assumed that it can crowd out natives, particularly along forest edges. It is native to east Asia and commonly cultivated/planted in gardens throughout the mid-Atlantic USA.

Some distinguish characteristics:

  • Gleason and Cronquist note that it lacks stipules and it's leaves are hairy on both sides. I don't recall noticing this in the field, but I also wasn't looking carefully. (I tried to zoom in to the pic, but no luck.)
  • The fruits are apparently quite showy. I'll keep my eye out for this in the future.
  • The UCONN Plant Database also had a good entry for this species, which pointed out features like pubescents on both surfaces of the leaves, but more densely so near veins, and the presence of bright orange lenticels. 
I'll keep an eye out for these features next time I'm botanizing in the park!