Scientific Name(s): Viburnum dentatum
Abundance: uncommon
What: berries
How: raw
Where: sun, partial shade, woods, landscaping
When: berries ripen in early fall
Nutritional Value: flavanoids

Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are opposite along the stems.

Leaf Shape: Viburnum dentatum leaves are typically ovate, with a slightly serrated margin.

Leaf Venation: The venation is pinnate.

Leaf Margin: The leaf margin is serrated.

Leaf Color: The leaves are usually green, and there may be slight variations in color on the top and underside.

Flower Structure: The flowers are arranged in flat-topped clusters, at the ends of branches with each flower having five petals and a diameter of approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Flower Color: Viburnum dentatum flowers are typically white.

Fruit: The fruit is a dark blue to black drupe, about 1/3 inch in diameter.

Seed: Seeds are small, contained within the drupe.

Bark: The bark is grayish-brown and may be slightly rough.

Hairs: Leaves and fruit stems may have a slight fuzziness.

Height: Viburnum dentatum can reach heights of 6 to 10 feet depending on environmental conditions.

Viburnum shrub in September with ripe berries.

Closeup of ripe arrowwood berries

Closeup of arrowwood leaf. The teeth along its edge give it the name "dentatum".

Closeup of flowers in early summer.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Arrow-wood shrubs are a common sight both in the woods and among landscaping. They grow 6’-10’ tall with multiple stems and thick foliage, ending up fairly round in shape. The inedible flowers appear in the spring and look almost identical to elderberry flow clusters. The long, straight, hardwood suckers were used to make arrows by Native Americans.

The dark blue-purple berries of arrow-wood are sour/sweet tasting but have only a thin layer of edible flesh over a large, inedible seed. They taste best as soon as they ripen, making an excellent nibble while hiking in the early fall. There is record of making jelly from the berries but I have not tried this personally. As the arrow-wood berries age they lose a lot of their flavor, becoming dry and mealy.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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