Mooseberry (Viburnum edule)

V. opulus edule. V. opulus pauciflorum. V. pauciflorum.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Viburnum edule

The stems have been used to reinforce birch bark basket rims[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    The bark is antispasmodic and astringent[172, 257]. An infusion of the crushed inner bark has been used in the treatment of dysentery and has also been used as a purgative[257]. The bark has been chewed and the juice swallowed in the treatment of whooping cough and ‘cold on the lungs'[257].

    A decoction of the stems has been used in the treatment of coughs[257]. An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used as a gargle in the treatment of sore throats[257]. The twig tips have been chewed and the juice swallowed in the treatment of sore throats[257].

    A poultice of the chewed, unopened flower buds has been applied to lip sores[257].

    A decoction of the roots has been used to treat sickness associated with teething[257].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[11, 62, 101, 257]. The fully ripe fruits are mildly acid with a pleasant taste[183]. The ovoid fruit is about 8mm long and contains a single large seed[200]. The fruit can also be dried for winter use[183]. It is highly valued for jam[43]. It is best before a frost and with the skin removed[85, 172]. Another report says that the native Americans would often not harvest the fruit until it had been frosted[257]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

    Flowers – used in fritters[172].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, it is closely related to V. opulus, the raw fruit of which can cause nausea in some people if it is eaten in large quantities, although the cooked fruit is perfectly alright[65, 76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[80]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[200]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out[113]. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months[78].
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[1]. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[11, 200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acidic soil[172]. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[200]. Plants are possibly self-incompatible[11] and may need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed[11, 200]. Closely allied to V. opulus, but this species has no sterile flowers in the inflorescence and is a superior fruiting form[11].
E. Asia. Eastern N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.