Viburnum Bouquets in the Forests of Pennsylvania

This past week saw an end to the blooming of the locust trees. The spikes of white blossoms can be noticed from afar and so can their putrid scent. Not really putrid, but what would you call a cross between body odor and cat pee? I think the folks living nearest the rivers are glad that their blooming is over!

The forests are still alive with Spring blossoms. The Viburnums and Solomon’s Seals are making a great show along the wooded paths.

Maple-leaved Viburnum likes the filtered sunlight found in open wooded areas. The short-stalked leaves remind one of the leaves of, you guessed it — maple trees.

Pairs of leaves on this woodland shrub, Viburnum acerifolium, are similar to maple tree leaves.

Pairs of leaves on this woodland shrub, Viburnum acerifolium, are similar to maple tree leaves.

Broad clusters of several small, white flowers are at the tip of the growing branches. The flower buds are pinkish-white before opening up into five-petaled, white blossoms. Five stamens project upward and make the clusters appear fuzzy from a distance.

Small white flowers cluster together in maple-leaved viburnum.
Small white flowers cluster together in maple-leaved viburnum.

4 thoughts on “Viburnum Bouquets in the Forests of Pennsylvania”

  1. Are you sure you were smelling locust flowers? Many people, myself included, think the scent is absolutely wonderful. My father would pick huge bouquets from the trees on our farm and we would enjoy their aroma for days. It’s too early right now to check, but take a close sniff when they bloom in a few weeks here in Pennsylvania. Maybe you were smelling blooming chestnut trees?

  2. Hey Laura,
    That really was a guess about the smelly trees along the river. Do you know if it’s the chestnut trees that are giving off that odor? It’s just a curiosity and something I never encountered until wandering near the Susquehanna River at the right time.

    I’ll have to find out a little more about our tree friends and look out for the blooming locusts. The viburnums aren’t ready to bloom quite yet on our ridge top.

    Thanks for your input!
    Keep smiling.

  3. Blooming Chinese chestnut trees give off a musty, rather unpleasant odor. However, I don’t live along the Susquehanna River so I don’t know if many grow there. People might have planted these trees in their backyard.

    We just bought 3 maple-leaved viburnums to replace some non-native shrubs in our backyard.

    Isn’t this time of year just glorious?

  4. Laura – I’ll see if I can find the offending trees next week or whenever they start to make themselves known. Those viburnums are really nice with their beautiful flowers and colorful foliage. Good on ya’ for going with the natives!

    This time of year is lovely! Flowers are blooming all around us – time to get out there and enjoy!!

Leave a Comment