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Viburnum rhytidophyllum Leatherleaf Viburnum

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

Leatherleaf Viburnum

An excellent large shrub reaching 10-15'.  Introduced by Wilson from cental China for Messrs. James Veitch & Sons in 1900.  Effective in massing or as a background plant and definately not meant for the small garden.  Exhibits long, excessively wrinkled, heavily veined, evergreen leaves that are dark green with gray undersides.  Very long leaves (narrower than other "leatherleaf" types) have a drooping appearance especially in winter during which time they will cup and have a dissicated appearance but do not be hasty in removal as it is one of the last to releaf in the spring.  Flower buds, perioles, and new shoots all exhibit a noticeable rusty-red pubescence.  Differentiated from other "leatherleafs" in that the flower buds are held in loose clusters rather than in the tight cauliflower form of the others.  Yellowish-white flowers in May from buds set the previous summer.  A full flower truss can contain up to 2500 individual flowers.  The oval fruit is red maturing to shiny black.  Another seedling or cultivar is required for adequate pollination.  Zone 5

USDA Hardiness Zone:



I have seen many plants labeled as the common name Leatherleaf Viburnum when in fact they are V. x rhytidophylloides or one of its cultivars.  This probably arises from the fact that we lump all of the evergreen, leatherleaf types into the leatherleaf common name.  To be correct, this term should be reserved to the species V. rhytidophyllum.

Leatherleaf Viburnum Growing and Maintenance Tips

Due to the fact that this species is evergreen and exhibits foliar cupping and a dissicated appearance in the winter, I would suggest planting in a location protected from winter winds. 


10-15 Feet


10-15 Feet

Viburnum rhytidophyllum Characteristics

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Moderate


  • Rounded

Soil Requirements

  • Moist, well drained
  • Acid

Sun Requirements

  • Full Sun to Part Shade

Flowering Season

  • Mid to late May

Fragrant Flowers

  • No


  • Red, turning shiny black

Native to

  • Central China

Winter foliage

  • Evergreen