Blackhaw. Viburnum prunifolium L.

Figure 17.—Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)

Other Common Names

Sloe, sloe-leaved viburnum, stagbush, shonny.

Habitat And Range

The blackhaw occurs in dry woods and thickets and on rocky hillsides from Connecticut to Florida and west to Michigan and Texas, but is found in greatest abundance in the South.


This shrub or small tree, from 10 to about 20 feet in height, has rather stout, spreading branches. The smooth bright-green, finely toothed, broadly or roundish oval leaves are 1 to 3 inches long. The numerous stemless flower clusters are from 2 to 4 inches broad, composed of numerous white flowers appearing from April to June. The fruit, which is sweet and edible, is about half an inch long, bluish black, covered with a bloom, and ripens in early autumn. It contains a somewhat flattened stone.

Another Species

The sweet viburnum (Viburnum lentago L.), known also as nannyberry and sheepberry, is collected with V. prunifolium. It grows in rich soil from Canada south to Georgia and Kansas. Its fruit matures in October, becoming sweet and edible, and sometimes remaining on the shrub until the following spring.

Part Used

The bark of both species, collected in autumn.