A deciduous shrub of erect habit up to 6 ft high; branches slender, covered with pale brown down when young. Leaves oval-ovate or somewhat obovate, wedge-shaped or rounded at the base, pointed; 11⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1 to 2 in. wide; sharply toothed, stellately downy on both surfaces, especially beneath; stalks 1⁄4 in. or less long. Flowers white, 1⁄6 in. across, produced in May in rather loose, slender, scurfy-stalked, usually five-branched cymes, 2 to 31⁄2 in. across; stamens rather longer than the corolla. Fruits red, roundish-ovoid, 1⁄4 in. long.
Native of Japan and China; introduced by Fortune from China in 1844, later by Maries and by Sargent from Japan. It was cultivated for some years in the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Chiswick, but never seems to have secured a permanent place in gardens. It is, perhaps, not perfectly hardy. Among the red-fruited viburnums this species is marked by the stalks of the leaves being so short.
V. ichangense (Hemsl.) Rehd. V. erosum var. ichangense Hemsl. – This close ally of V. erosum was discovered in Hupeh by Henry, and introduced by Wilson in 1901, and several times since. It flowered at Coombe Wood in 1906. The leaf-stalks are very short, as in V. erosum, but the blades are smaller, ovate-lanceolate, and slender-pointed. The flowers are in smaller cymes, 1 to 11⁄2 in. wide, the stamens are shorter than the corolla; the calyx-tube is conspicuously and densely woolly. Fruits red, as in V. erosum.