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Black Haw

Common Name: Black Haw

Scientific Name: Viburnum prunifolium

Thomas Jefferson's idea for a shrubbery at Monticello in 1771 included the planting of "Haw" among other species "not exceeding 10 feet."[fn]Betts, Garden Book, 27. Manuscript and transcription at the Massachusetts Historical Society.[/fn] It was offered in Philadelphia by the Bartrams in their nursery listing of 1793 along with several other viburnum species. It must have been a long standing item, for Peter Collinson writes to John Bartram in 1739 thanking him for the black haw he sent the previous year.[fn]Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg, 1979), 78, and Ann Leighton, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), 485.[/fn]

This shrub or small tree is native to Michigan and Connecticut south to Texas and Florida, and it bears creamy white, flattened clusters of flowers followed by pink-rose, edible fruit that ripens to bluish black. Its foliage turns purple to reddish in autumn.

- Text from Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet

Primary Source References

1786 February 5. (Jefferson to Antonio Giannini). "A list of seeds which Anthony Giannini is desired to send me...Haw tree, both black and red..."[fn]PTJ, 9:254.[/fn]


    Further Sources


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