Last week I found this American cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum or V. trilobum, Caprifoliaceae) at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio. This native shrub is found largely in the northern United States and southern Canada, but only occurs sparsely throughout most of its range. It grows most frequently in wet woodlands and near water. This individual was growing on the edge of a small pond.
Despite the common name this is not a true cranberry; it’s a member of the honeysuckle family. The cranberry-like fruit mature in September and October, but can persist well into winter. Birds eat the fruit and spread the seeds in their droppings, but this plant has a hard time competing with introduced Asian relatives. Both Amur honeysuckle and Morrow’s honeysuckle reproduce, spread, and grow faster.