Since i started this blog in january last year one plant has been on the top of the list almost every day. It has the most hits every day other than ‘namethatplant.com. I have wondered why this is, maybe it’s the early time of year that it blooms, or is it the color of it’s flowers, or is it that it has very fragrant flowers…I think it is all of this and it’s genus. It’s genus is Viburnum and there are many other wonderful members to explore. One member which I am seeing increasingly here is the Korean Spicebush Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) and its wonderful named selections.
Korean Spicebush comes to us from (not to surprisingly) Korea mainly and ranges into areas of Japan. There are two varieties, var bitchiense which is found in Korea and on the Japanese islands of Honshu and Shikoku, it has narrower leaves and the individual flowers have longer tubes. Var. carlesii alos comes from Korea but is found in southern areas as well as the southern Japanese island of Tsushima which is found near the larger island Kyushu.
The Viburnum genus is quite large and consists of 150-175 separate species. They are almost all found in the northern hemisphere and are found around the globe through North America, Europe and Asia. There are a few species scattered in mountain ranges of South America and North Africa as well as south east Asia.
Viburnum is the original Latin name for the species and it is thought that the particular type was possibly Viburnum lantana. Carlesii refers to William Richard Carles (1849 – 1929) who collected plants in Korea during the years of 1883-85. He was the British Vice- Consul in China from 1867 to 1900. During that time he was posted to Korea and took several trips to explore the interior of the country. He sent plants which he collected to The Royal Botanic Garden in England.
Several wonderful selections of Korean Spicebush have been made at the famous Slieve Donnard Nursery in Northern Ireland and these are probably are found in better gardens in my area. They are: ’Aurora’ which has pinkish flowers, ‘Diana’ is said to be more vigorous, and ‘Charis’ has white flowers. More recently new forms have been named in North America.
Viburnums are fantastic garden plants which offer several seasons of beauty. Many have beautifully veined leaves which turn wondrous shades of amber, peach and scarlets in the fall. Many offer copious amounts of red or blackish berries also. Korean Spicebush is no exception and this which is why it is an excellent garden plant. The scent where it gets it name is powerful and said to smell like Daphne or cloves. Use this plant near travelled area, open windows or enclosed areas which have afternoon sun to release more scent.
Viburnum carlesii is an easy and accommodating plant to grow in the garden. It likes moist acidic well drained soil. It likes to be positioned in an area where it gets afternoon sun or full sun, this promotes better flowering and fruiting. It grows to be a rounded shrub of about 1.8m(6ft) high and slightly wider. It is quite hardy taking -20c(-4f) with no trouble at all. As it sets buds on old wood, the best time to prune is just after it blooms. Pruning is generally not needed except for shaping.
Links to like:
A good source of information: http://www.hort.net/profile/cap/vibca/
Another informative page on this plant: http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs/TMI/Plantlist/vi_lesii.html
A general Wiki page on Viburnums: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viburnum
The more plants I grow the more I know…