At first glance, I thought it was a hydrangea. But I don’t know of any hydrangea that blooms with the trilliums. And the large, exquisitely puckered leaves were unlike any hydrangea leaf I’d ever seen.Turns out it was a viburnum–Viburnum lantanoides–to be precise. This native shrub likes it cool and moist–perfect for northern climates. It’s called hobblebush because its branches dip low and root where they touch the ground, making a tripping hazard for anyone walking through. Or so it is said. While I did find many instances of suckering, it never seemed like much of a tripping hazard to me. And William Cullina states in Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines that “give it a favored place in the garden, and it is satisfied to remain a domed clump with nary an errant sucker to be seen.” Certainly many a plant has been improved merely by giving it improved conditions.
While this is considered a shade plant, the most floriferous ones I saw in the wild were getting plenty of early spring sunshine before the trees had leafed out.Hobblebush is a host plant for the caterpillars of the spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon). Several sources say that it is a food source for mammals, which, being translated, means deer eat it. The steep glen where I found hobblebush and many other native ephemerals growing seems to be avoided by deer, possibly because it is not only steep, but close to the road. Their loss is my gain.
Hobblebush blooms in May, along with numerous other native plants, but June doesn’t have nearly as many native bloomers, so I thought I’d share this beautiful shrub even though its bloom has long been over.
Posted for Wildflower Wednesday, created by Gail of Clay and Limestone, to share wildflowers/native plants no matter where you garden in the blogasphere. “It doesn’t matter if we sometimes show the same plants. How they grow and thrive in your garden is what matters most. It’s always the fourth Wednesday of the month!”