State Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1
Did You Know?
This species has showy, white clusters of flowers and gives off a musky smell.
Possumhaw (Viburnum nudum) is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows up to 4m tall. The leaves are oppositely-arranged, shiny above, toothed or untoothed on the margin, oblong to elliptic in shape, and typically 8-13cm long. The flowers, which appear in May or June, are arranged in flat-topped clusters. The small individual flowers have white petals with five regular lobes. The fruits at maturity are dark blue-black and berry-like, with a single seed.
Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.
The PA Biological Survey considers possumhaw to be a species of special concern, based on the relatively few occurrences that have been recently documented and its wetland habitat. It has a PA legal rarity status and a PABS suggested rarity status of Endangered. Fewer than ten populations, most of them with only a few individuals, are known from the state.
It grows in wetlands, particularly swamps, wet thickets, and the margins of ponds.
Flowers May - June, fruits August - November
In Pennsylvania, it represents a southerly species and has been documented in a few southeastern counties.
This species may be impacted by deer browsing in some locations.
The viability of known populations of possumhaw and its habitat would be enhanced by creating buffers around wetlands, controlling invasive species, and protecting the hydrology of the wetland and its surroundings.
Conservation Status Map
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.
- NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
- Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
- Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
- 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.