Snowball Tree
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Snowball Tree
ntroduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Snowball Tree, European Craneberry
Botanical name: Viburnum opulus    Family: Viburnaceae (Viburnum family)

Snowball Tree is a deciduous shrub growing to 4-5 m tall. Oppositely arranged leaves are three-lobed, 5-10 cm long and broad, with a rounded base and coarsely toothed margins. They are superficially similar to the leaves of some maples, most easily distinguished by their somewhat wrinkled surface with impressed leaf venation. Flowers are white, produced in rounded clusters 4-11 cm in diameter at the top of the stems. They inspired the common name Snowball Tree. Rach cluster comprises a ring of outer sterile flowers 1.5-2 cm diameter with prominent petals, surrounding a center of small (5 mm), fertile flowers. The flowers are produced in early summer, and pollinated by insects. The fruit is a round, bright red drupe 7-10 mm diameter, containing a single seed. The seeds are dispersed by birds. Snowball Tree is native to Europe, cultivated in gardens of Kashmir and other cooler parts of India.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Kashmir.
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