Doublefile Viburnum

We’ve got another plant in bloom on campus, and this one is worth driving past on your way to work. In front of Carr Hall, look for its large white blooms on a large shrub. For you plant geeks out there, it’s a Doublefile Viburnum, Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum.

This is another what I call steam line plant-barely hardy in most of Vermont, this was planted on top of a steam line that runs into Carr hall, in hopes the heat from the steam would keep it warm and living. And, like the Star Magnolias planted around, it is probably not the heat, but the microclimate where the plant is. In the case of this Doublefile Viburnum, it is protected from the north by Carr Hall, from the south by Munroe, and from extreme cold by all the concrete, blacktop, and building surfaces nearby.

The fall color is a nice reddish purple most years, and works well against the grey stone nearby. The flowers, though, are worth the entire year, even if the plant had no other redeeming qualities. A pure white, they are aboiut 1″ in diameter, and are effective for over 2 weeks. Fruit follows, but is quickly eaten by birds, so not very effective for visual use.

This speciman is about 8′ tall and wide, and is probably about as large as can be expected this far north. (Or at any rate, about as large as our department will allow it to become-it fills the space nicely.) Don’t bother looking for it locally, as it is not hardy enough to live this far north, so is not commonly for sale. Given the correct location, though, well, I’d try one.

Leave a Reply