Black haw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium) can easily be used as a large, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree in the landscape. Blackhaws are some of the most twiggy and dense members of the Viburnum family. A slow grower, black haw reaches about 15 feet in height and 10 feet in width at maturity. Hardy to Zone 3, it has an oval growth habit when young, but will become more rounded, spreading, or irregular as it ages. It can be utilized in larger landscape foundation plantings, as informal hedges and in woodland settings.
While prunifolium prefer moist, well-drained soil in full sun, they are a work horse in the landscape. They?ll handle poor or compact soils, constantly wet or dry soils, heat, drought, and pollution. They're a perfect choice for surviving urban conditions. They're disease- and pest-tolerant, but can suffer from occasional powdery mildew.
Black haw viburnum has dark green, elliptically shaped summer foliage. Flat-topped blossoms called cymes appear in late spring or early summer. These flowers are white with yellow stamens which create a creamy appearance to the blooms.
During late summer and early fall, a crop of blue-black fruit is produced which, when very ripe, is among the sweetest in the wild. It was used in colonial times to make preserves. The ripe fruit is also highly attractive to birds and wildlife.
Black haw was important to Native Americans. Its roots were brewed into a tea used to prevent recurring spasms, fever and small pox. It was also used as a tonic and a diaphoretic, which is a fancy word for something that makes you sweat a lot.