ADOXACEAE/Muskroot Family

This family consists of deciduous shrubs mainly characterized by opposite leaves and terminal infloresence composed of small flowers that have mostly five petals and are white. This family was formerly considered part of Caprifoliaceae which they strongly resemble.

In Chester County during early spring, it is hard to miss Viburnum prunifolium (black-haw) in the forest understory. Many species of Viburnum are popular with home gardners because of their showy flowers and bright fall colors. To this end a number of hybrids and cultivars have been developed. At least six species have escaped cultivation and are now found in the wild in Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania species of Adoxaceae as found in Rhodes and Block (2007).

* = Designated as threatened or endangered in Pennsylvania; I = Introduced followed by the region of natural occurance; C = recorded in Chester County; Bold = in photo gallery to the right.


  • Viburnum acerifolium, maple-leaved viburnum, C
  • Viburnum cassinoides, witherod, C
  • Viburnum dentatum, southern arrow-wood, C
  • Viburnum dilatatum, linden viburnum I Asia, C
  • Viburnum lantana, wayfaring-tree, I China
  • Viburnum lantanoides  hobblebush
  • Viburnum lentago, nannyberry, C
  • Viburnum nudum*, possum-haw, C
  • Viburnum opulus, guelder-rose, I Europe, C
  • Viburnum plicatum, doublefile viburnum, I Asia, C
  • Viburnum prunifolium, black-haw, C
  • Viburnum rafinesquianum, downy arrow-wood, C
  • Viburnum recognitum, northern arrow-wood, C
  • Viburnum setigerum, tea viburnum, I China
  • Viburnum sieboldii, Siebold viburnum, I Japan, C
  • Viburnum trilobum*, highbush-cranberry
  • Sambucus canadensis, American elder, C
  • Sambucus racemosa, red-berried elder, C