Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl. ex Forbes & Hemsl.

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English Leatherleaf viburnum Status LU: established. 1st record: 1936, ITW 2019.
Lëtzebuergesch Rompelbliederege Schnéiball Status Eur.: established. 1st record: 1901.
Français Viorne à feuilles ridées RA: ISEIA: n/a Harmonia+: n/a
Deutsch Runzelblättriger Schneeball Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English Deutsch Français Nederlands | Wikispecies: Wikispecies | CABI
Nederlands Sneeuwbal Back to the list of neophytes

Report the species

Report Viburnum rhytidophyllum to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl. ex Forbes & Hemsl. is a vigorous, coarsely textured evergreen shrub which has an upright habit and 20 cm long, lustrous, deeply veined oval leaves with dark blue-green surfaces and pale green undersides. Plants grow 3.0–4.6 m tall and wide. The plant is an evergreen shrub or small tree with a suckering habit. Viburnum rhytidophyllum grows naturally in forests and shrubs at altitudes between 700 and 2.400 meters only in some Chinese provinces. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its evergreen foliage and tolerance of deep shade. In countries where the species has been introduced as an ornamental plant, it seems to be spreading more and more near settlements in recent years. It can potentially displace native species and also causes health issues (its hairs can cause itching and respiratory allergies) (Wikipedia contributors 2022, Gigon 2012).

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Records of Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl. ex Forbes & Hemsl. in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2024-07-14.

A specimen of Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl. ex Forbes & Hemsl. from a garden in Rumelange can be found in the herbarium of Joseph Witry (1936-05-25). The herbarium of the National Museum of Natural History contains another cultivated specimen from Esch/Alzette (6 June 1959). As of January 2023, most of the occurences documented in the database Recorder-Lux are found in urban areas, in private gardens or parks. But V. rhytidophyllum has also been found in the wild: in forest areas close to Manternach (2019-10-01), in a vineyard in Bech-Kleinmacher (2020-04-26), west of Echternach (2022-02-04) and next to the A7 in the Grunewald area (2022-03-02). The plant is quite common in the parks of the City of Luxembourg, especially along avenue de la porte neuve. The species is removed from the parks over a longer period of time, among other things for reasons of health protection for the park employees.

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

Not assessed yet.

Harmonia+ protocol

Not assessed yet.

Worldwide distribution

Although introduced several European countries, the history of this species introduction is not well documented as the data situation is insufficient. The earliest observation for Europe seems to be from Slovakia in 1901 (cf. CABI 2019).


  • CABI, 2019. ‘Viburnum rhytidophyllum’ (2022) CABI Compendium. doi: 10.1079/cabicompendium.56343. [accessed 2023-09-27]
  • Gigon, A. (2012): Ersatz-Pflanzenarten für die unerwünschten gebietsfremden Arten (invasive Neophyten) der Schwarzen und der Beobachtungsliste der Schweiz. 2012 ( [PDF]).
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2023. Viburnum rhytidophyllum Hemsl. ex Forbes & Hemsl. in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2023-09-27]
  • Wikipedia contributors, 2022. ‘Viburnum rhytidophyllum’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 November 2022, 10:26 UTC, <ättriger_Schneeball> [accessed 2023-01-30]

 Page content last updated on 2023-09-27. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2023-03-27.