Are Viburnum Berries Edible

With over 150 species to choose from, viburnum is a popular choice for landscape areas. It’s flowers, fragrance, and colors through the fall make this shrub a favorite of gardeners. An added bonus is that the berries of viburnum are edible. Early settlers and native americans used viburnum for food and tea consumption. The fruit of some species (V. lentago) are edible and can be eaten either raw or for making jam, while other species (V. opulus) are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting if eaten in quantity. The bark of some species has been used for medicinal purposes as well. With many varieties of viburnum, you will need to research well to see which berries are useful for your purpose.


Are Viburnum Berries Edible?

Viburnum berries are edible. The better question is, “How do they taste?” With so many varieties of viburnum, the fruit of the plant can range from awful tasting to tasting very good. Among the consumed Viburnums are Viburnum alnifolium, Viburnum cassinoides, Viburnum edule, Viburnum lantana, Viburnum lentago, Viburnum nudum, Viburnum opulus, Viburnum prunifolium, Viburnum rufidulum, Viburnum setigerum, and Viburnum trilobum. Before you decide to taste or cook with the berries, it is best to do a bit of homework on the type of viburnum you have in your garden.

Harvesting Viburnum Berries

Viburnum berries are their ripest in the fall. For a sweeter fruit, pick the berries after the summer is complete and the weather is cooler.


Eating and Cooking with Viburnum

Whether raw or cooked, the fruit of viburnum can be eaten. Some say they taste similar to raisins or dates. Certain varieties of viburnum berries can be used to make jams, jellies, sauces, or wine. The berries are not the only edible part of viburnum. The leaves have been used to make tea, while the flowers can add some sweetness in dessert dishes. It is important to know the variety of your viburnum as the species Viburnum opulus’ berries are mildly toxic raw and must be cooked.


Medicinal Uses of Viburnum

Viburnum has a history of being used as a herbal medicine. Viburnum opulus has been used to relieve muscle spasms, cramps, and promote relaxation. Viburnum prunifolium has been used to help with gynecological issues in women. Both of these viburnums have also been used as a sedative. 

Are Viburnum Poisonous to Dogs and Cats

Although some berries from plants are poisonous to dogs and cats, viburnum is deemed safe for pets. It is important to remember that ingestion of any plant material may cause stomach upset in your cat or dog.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested bee balm or any other plant in question, call the pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661 for information on further care.


"Viburnum–A Shrub for Many Settings." Piedmont Master Gardeners.

"Viburnum." Wikipedia. 

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Author Chris Link - Published 02-19-2021