Viburnum (Viburnum) is a genus of about 150-175 species of shrubs or
(in a few species) small trees that were previously included in the family
Caprifoliaceae. Recent classifications, based on molecular phylogeny, put
them in the family Adoxaceae.
They are native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with a
few species extending into tropical montane regions in South America and
southeast Asia. In Africa, the genus is confined to the Atlas Mountains.
The leaves are opposite, simple, and entire, toothed or lobed; cool
temperate species are deciduous, while most of the warm temperate
species are evergreen. Some species are densely hairy on the shoots and
leaves, with star-shaped hairs.
The flowers are produced in corymbs 5-15 cm across, each flower white to cream or pink, small, 3-5 mm across, with five
petals, strongly fragrant in some species. The gynoecium has 3 connate carpels with the nectary on top of the gynoecium.
Some species also have a fringe of large, showy sterile flowers round the perimeter of the corymb to act as a pollinator
The fruit is a spherical, oval or somewhat flattened drupe, red to purple, blue, or black, and containing a single seed; some
are edible for humans (though many others are mildly poisonous to people). The leaves are sometimes eaten by the larvae of
some Lepidoptera species - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Viburnum.