All my life I thought the hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides Michx.) tree was dogwood. That's what my mother called it and I had no reason to doubt her. She was an intelligent and knowledgeable woman, but for whatever reason, she had the name of this tree wrong.
Hobblebush got it name from its unusual growing habit. The branches of this shrubby perennial tend to bend down toward the earth. If they touch the ground, they will take root and another tree will sprout and grow. The resulting branches are easy to trip over when you walk through the woods, making the person hobble along.
Hobblebush produces a cluster of white flowers in a flat head. The outer ring has larger five-petaled white flowers, while the center is made up of tiny white flowers tinged with red, pink or purple. It blooms in the month of May, at about the same time as fiddleheads emerge. The shrubby bushes range in height from 6 to 12 feet in height and can often be found in partially shaded areas with acidic soil, says The Wildflower Center. Cuttings taken in the early spring will root easily.
I always enjoy these beautiful flowers as they are one of the earliest flowers of spring. This year I have had the added joy of photographing them in as they emerge and bloom. May you enjoy the beauty of hobblebush when you encounter it in the wild.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
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