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Squashberry (Viburnum edule)

Life history

Species overview

Squashberry (Viburnum edule), a Wisconsin Endangered plant, is found on moist, quartzite, talus slopes in the Blue Hills, where cold air from within the slope maintains boreal conditions at the surface. Blooming occurs early May through late July; fruiting occurs throughout September. The optimal identification period for this species is throughout September.

Synonyms: Viburnum pauciflorum


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Leaves have long, soft, straight hairs on the veins beneath; fruit red; filaments up to 1 mm
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence 1 to 2.5 cm wide, with less than 50 flowers; flowers white, bisexual, mostly 5-petaled with short peduncle; stamens attached to corolla tube.
  • Fruit characteristics: Drupe red, 1-1.5 cm; stone flattened, not grooved.
  • Leaf characteristics: Palmately veined, shallowly 3-lobed, 5 to 10 cm, sharply serrate, basally rounded to subcordate, occasionally lobeless and pinnately veined.


  • Blooming phenology: early May through late July
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is throughout September


  • Growth form: Shrub
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Viburnum rafinesquianum, Acer spicatum, Ribes glandulosum, R. oxyacanthoides, R. triste.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Squashberry (Viburnum edule). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Viburnum edule in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on moist, quartzite, talus slopes in the Blue Hills, where cold air from within the slope maintains boreal conditions at the surface.
  • Soils: Rocky soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Squashberry. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Glaciere Talus (Felsenmeer) 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Squashberry. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
North Central Forest 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid disturbance near the base of talus slopes where cold air drains.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes on or near known populations.
  • Avoid direct disturbance to sensitive microsites such as seeps, cliffs, and moss-covered boulders.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Buffer management around unique microhabitats such as ephemeral ponds, seeps, etc.


Squashberry Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Squashberry Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Squashberry Photo.

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Squashberry Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Squashberry Photo.

Photo © D. Vincent.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition