Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Nannyberry/Sheepberry - Elderberry family
The Nannyberry is a small tree or large shrub native to the Northern United States and Southern portions of Canada. Generally found growing naturally along woods edges and within woodland settings. Nannyberry is in the Elderberry family and is also called Nannyberry viburnum or Sheepberry. This variety is best suited for zones 3-7 and grows well in alkaline, moist, dry or well drained soils. The growth habit of the Nannyberry is clumping, thicket forming, arching or multi stemmed. The Nannyberry is a fast grower and is adaptable from full sun to partial shade.
Image Citation: Missouri Botanical Gardens - https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/FullImageDisplay.aspx?documentid=1040
The Nannyberry can reach heights of up to 25 feet and prefers full to partial shade. Nannyberry is known for its dark, lustrous green leaves which turn a maroon to deep red in the fall. The leaves are finely toothed, short to long pointed, hairless and somewhat egg shaped, leafstalks are winged. The leaves are 2-5 inches long. The twigs are long and flexible, with a rough granular texture on the surface. Buds are brown or gray in color, long and slender with rough-granular scales. Flowers are white in color and appear on the "old wood" portions of the tree, not new growth. The berry like fruit (drupe form) starting out yellow and red and maturing to blue or black. Birds are attracted to the fruit that ripens in the fall and often persists into December. This plant is a caterpillar and larva host to the spring azure butterfly.