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Viburnums are a deciduous shade tolerant shrub distributed world wide that are an important food source for wildlife. Some of the species have characteristics that make them desirable for landscaping use. Maple-leaf viburnum, the species found locally, is named for the shape of the leaf, which resembles those of maple trees. In the woods maple leaf viburnum and small red maple trees are sometimes growing side by and a close look is required to tell tree from shrub. Maple-leaf viburnum is particularly desirable for landscaping shrub because it does not get overly tall and adapts to a range of conditions. Although it is shade tolerant, it will also do well with some sun and will even produce more fruit. The plant is attractive year around and does not require pruning. Acerifolium blooms in May with clusters of whitish flowers that are attractive to bees. The leaves produce fall colors that are shades between red and purple. The fruit forms in the fall and becomes blackish. The black fruit provides winter interest as well as food for birds.
Maple-leaf viburnum is scattered around on Monte Sano slopes and many other wooded areas. The Huntsville Botanical Garden has a few plants in the wildflower area. Maple-leaf viburnum plants are numerous in Desoto State Park and South Cumberland Recreation Area in Tennessee.
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