Photo: Icm1863 (flickr)
If you don’t have much space and are looking for a small and versatile tree, you might like the native black haw. It offers year round visual appeal and is especially attractive to wildlife.
The native black haw and its sibling southern black haw have no serious pest or disease problems. The rusty brown hairs on the buds of the Southern black haw are responsible for its common name of rusty black haw, and it is hardy zones 5 – 9, whereas the regular black haw is hardy zones 3 – 8. These trees adapt to a wide range of soil types and withstand heat and drought.
The botanical name for black haw is Viburnum prunifolium as the leaves resemble those of a cherry of the Prunus family. The tree can be grown as a shrub or can be pruned to an open tree form. It has a rounded shape and white flowers in mid spring. In the fall the leaves turn shades of red and purple, and it produces red berries, which turn blue-black and that birds like. The genus Viburnum is a source of food for the Henry’s Elfin and Spring Azure butterflies. The tree grows to a maximum of 18 – 20 feet and gets quite wide. It is native to woods and stream banks from Connecticut to Wisconsin and south to Texas and Georgia.