Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Downy Arrowwood - Viburnum rafinesqueanum   J.A. Schultes
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Section 6 » Order Dipsacales » Family Adoxaceae
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AuthorJ.A. Schultes
DistributionOne of the few plants limited almost exclusively to the Piedmont. Found throughout the eastern and central Piedmont, from the Fall Line west only to Forsyth and Gaston counties. It essentially is absent in the mountains and the entire Coastal Plain.

This is a Northern species that ranges from southern Canada south to NC, western GA, and eastern OK. Oddly, it seems not yet to have been recorded in SC, though it occurs in several NC counties along the state line.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common (to even locally very common) in the northeastern third of the Piedmont, west to Caswell and Chatham counties. Uncommon to locally fairly common in the central Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a species of rather dry to mesic forests, often on flats or gradual slopes, especially in circumneutral soils. It is most numerous in the Basic Oak-Hickory Forest natural community, but it also is found in acidic pine-oak forests, hardpan forests (usually where mafic), and less so in richer soils of mesic mixed forests or basic mesic forests.
PhenologyBlooms from mid-April to May, and fruits in June and July.
IdentificationThis is a medium-sized deciduous shrub that grows to 5-6’ tall, on average. It has opposite, ovate to narrowly ovate leaves that are strongly toothed, growing to about 2-2.5” long. The leaves are narrower than are those of V. dentatum (strict sense) and perhaps so, or similar in width, to V. recognitum. However, the main distinguishing mark for this species is its sessile leaves, or leaves with a very short petiole, barely 1/8” long if that. The two other similar strongly toothed Viburnums of the Piedmont have more obvious petioles. Even so, you may find some plants that simply come close to be borderline in petiole length. Though not clonal, in some parts of the eastern Piedmont this species can dominate the shrub layer, occurring by the hundreds over a number of acres.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) spells the specific name with an “e” as opposed to an “i” in most other references – thus, V. rafinesqueanum; Wikipedia and a few others do as well. After all, it is named after its discoverer, Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz.

Other Common Name(s)Rafinesque’s Arrowwood
State RankS4
Global RankG5
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