The Q&A Archives: Difference Between European and American Cranberrybush

I bought two "Viburnum Trilobum" a couple of years ago, at two different garden centers. They are about the same age (1,5 m tall). However, they differ greatly one from another. One is pestered with aphids, the other one hardly (in the same backyard!). One has 5 to 10 cm leaves, the other one's are often twice as large. Finally, one, however very healthy, has sporadic fruits, and the other one, nice big clusters instead. Is it possible that one of those would be the European Opulus instead of our native species?

Answer: How interesting that one of your cranberries has aphids and the other doesn't, because my reference says that "V. trilobum is less susceptible to aphid damage than V. opulus" (commonly called European cranberry). V. Opulus "needs careful spraying to control aphids." It says that their leaves, flowers and berries are similar. Opulus is described as "leaves 2-4 inches long and wider, turn red in fall. Blooms in May, white flower clusters 2-4 inches across, rimmed with 3/4 inch wide white sterile flowers in lace cap effect. Large showy red fruit." In addition, both species are available in several varieties, so that could also be a factor in the differences between your plants. Finally, it's a fact of nature that two "exactly the same plants in exactly the same conditions" can show quite different results. I guess that is one reason gardening is so interesting!

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