Southern Wild Raisin

Viburnum nudum var. nudum None

Viburnum nudum leaves
Stephen M. Young

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
State Protection
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Secure globally - Both the species as a whole and the subspecies/variety are common in the world; widespread and abundant (but may be rare in some parts of its range).


Did you know?

This beautiful shrub was introduced into cultivation as early as 1752 and has been grown in temperatures as low as -25 degrees F (Dirr 1975) even though in New York it is mostly native to southeastern New York, Staten Island, and Long Island where it rarely, if ever, gets that cold.

State Ranking Justification

There are four existing populations but only one of them has more than 100 plants. The other ones have less than 10 each. There are two historical occurrences which need more checking but are probably gone.

Short-term Trends

The short-term trend appears somewhat negative. Some of the small populations have not been seen again and may have disappeared.

Long-term Trends

The long-term trend is apparently negative. This species has always been very rare in New York and populations remain at low levels.

Conservation and Management


Development of a hotel complex has threatened one population but the remaining populations have remained stable.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

Avoid disturbance of the wetland habitat.

Research Needs

Research is needed to see if present populations can be augmented where they exist.



On Long Island, this species is associated with white cedar swamps along streams within pine barrens. On Staten Island it is associated with sweetgum swamps (New York Natural Heritage Program 2012).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Coastal plain Atlantic white cedar swamp (guide)
    A swamp that occurs on organic soils along streams and in poorly drained depressions of the coastal plain. Atlantic white cedar makes up over 50% of the canopy cover. In mixed stands in New York, red maple is the codominant tree.
  • Red maple-sweetgum swamp (guide)
    A hardwood swamp that occurs on somewhat poorly drained seasonally wet flats, usually on somewhat acidic soils. Red maple-sweetgum swamps often occur as a mosaic with upland forest communities. Sweetgum is often the dominant tree or may be codominant with red maple. Other codominant trees include pin oak and blackgum.

Associated Species

  • Acer rubrum
  • Amelanchier canadensis
  • Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)
  • Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweet-pepperbush)
  • Gaylussacia frondosa (dangleberry)
  • Liquidambar styraciflua (sweet-gum)
  • Quercus bicolor (swamp white oak)
  • Quercus palustris (pin oak)
  • Quercus rubra (northern red oak)
  • Quercus velutina (black oak)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
  • Viburnum dentatum
  • Vitis labrusca (fox grape)


New York State Distribution

This shrub is currently known from Suffolk County, Long Island and from Staten Island. It has historical records in a nearby Nassau County and is considered extirpated from Queens, Brooklyn, and Westchester County to the west and north.

Global Distribution

This is a shrub of the Northeastern, Southeastern, and the South-Central US. It reaches its northeastern range limit in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island and its southeastern limit in East Texas.

Identification Comments

General Description

Possum-haw is a shrub that grows to 4 meters tall. The opposite, petiolate leaves are mostly elliptic or oblong to oblong-lanceolate in shape with smooth margins that can sometimes be a little wavy. The tip and base are acute. They are shiny on the upper surface and very veiny on the lower surface. The winter buds are reddish brown to gray-brown. The ultimate flower cluster peduncles average 3.5 cm long when in flower. The pink fruits mature to a blue color. The stone of the fruit is round-obovate and the pulp is usually bitter-tasting (Gleason and Cronquist 1991).

Identifying Characteristics

Distinguishing characteristics: winter buds browner or fuscous, the lateral rarely developed at fruiting time; young shoots green or merely doted; leaves lustrous above, coriaceous, acute to rounded at time (not acuminate) often appearing entire; anthers elevated 4-5 mm above throat of corolla; stone round-obovate. Best life stage for ID: in fruit. Characteristics needed to ID: small branch with a few leaves.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

This shrub can be identified vegetatively but is best identified in flower and/or fruit.

Similar Species

Northern wild-raisin, Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides, looks very similar and sometimes overlaps in range but its leaves are dull and not shiny on the top and the veins are not as distinct underneath. The margins have low rounded teeth. The winter buds are yellow-brown or golden. The ultimate flower cluster peduncles average 1.3 cm long when in flower. The stone in the fruit is elliptic or oblong-elliptic and the pulp is sweet (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Silky Dogwood, Cornus amomum, may also look similar but the leaf venation in dogwoods is arcuate and not the straighter pinnate veins of Viburnum.

Best Time to See

This plant flowers in June through July. Fruits persist through October.

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Southern Wild Raisin vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.

Southern Wild Raisin Images


Southern Wild Raisin
Viburnum nudum var. nudum None

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Dipsacales
          • Family Viburnaceae

Additional Common Names

  • Smooth Withe-rod

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Other References

Dirr, M.A. 1990. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. Stipes Publishing Company, Champaign, Illinois. 1007 pp.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Stephen M. Young

Information for this guide was last updated on: September 6, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Viburnum nudum var. nudum. Available from: Accessed July 19, 2024.