Apr. 26, 2020

blackhaw, Viburnum prunifolium

When I saw these small trees blooming in Ohio, I hoped for rusty blackhaw. Turned out to be an old acquaintance, just plain blackhaw. Blackhaw berries are edible, particularly after the first frost. The medicinal use of the bark has an perversely interesting history. Decoctions of the bark are genuinely effective in preventing gynecological problems, including miscarriages. In the time of slavery, pregnant slaves would ingest cotton seeds to try to cause abortions. Slave owners would give them blackhaw to prevent that result. We now know that blackhaw can also cause birth defects. Horrid situation all around. Have to be glad we can now just enjoy the flowers when they show up in the woods. Blackhaw grows in AL, AR, CT(S), DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI(S), MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, and WV. Scioto Co OH, 4/20/20. Moschatel family, Adoxaceae.