‘Lord Byron’ is a fascinating hybrid of V. obovatum (Walter’s Viburnum) and V. rufidulum (Rusty Black Haw). Created by the great plantsman and friend Paul Cox of the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and named after his son, this interesting cross has performed well at SFA Gardens, Nacogdoches, Texas for many years.
Worth further study in a wide range across the south, this plant features pleasing mid-March flowers and is essentially evergreen in our garden. The plant can make a nice hedge with one annual pruning to keep the plant in tip top shape. The suckering habit suggests planting where this can be kept in check by mowing, a trail, etc. In the middle of a lawn that’s frequently mowed is not a bad spot. Heidi Sheesley has a nice specimen at TreeSearch Farms in Houston, TX., a tree form which takes a little work in the first few years. Keep in mind that ‘Lord Byron’ alone in a bed alongside other plant friends, well, this fellow tends to win.
The leaves are intermediate between the small leaves of Walter’s Viburnum and Rusty Blackhaw. In full sun, ‘Lord Byron’ is happiest, never failing to push a cloak of dark green leaves and showy white flowers. This clone is easy from cuttings taken in June and placed under mist. Because the plant suckers from the root system, it’s fairly easy to propagate good numbers simply by digging suckers and a portion of the attached root system. I suspect the plant can be propagated by root cuttings as well.
It suckers like crazy. Where the fast growing suckers are in the lawn, you get lots of sharp, woody spears after mowing. It wants to be a thicket. Besides this one big problem, it’s wonderful.
you’re right . . . suckers like crazy. Best in the middle of a yard where it’s mowed frequently. Once the tree is big, it suckers less?
Chuck Hubbuch said:
Paul gave me a start fifteen years ago. It grown beautifully among other shrubs and trees in a native woodland edge. When conditions are good, the coral-orange fall color can be outstanding.