The shadbush is a small, deciduous tree with white flower clusters that bloom in early spring. It grows in wet areas such as swamps and forested wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, mostly in the coastal plain.
The shadbush has rounded, elongated leaves with fine teeth along the edges. Leaves are alternately arranged on the branches and turn brilliant red, orange and yellow in autumn. Clusters of white, five-petaled flowers bloom in March through May before leaves grow. Fruits are round and reddish-purple. Several stems grow from the tree’s base. Shadbush grows to 25 feet tall.
Shadbush grows along the edges of forested wetlands, bogs and swamps, but is also found in low, open woods. It can be planted in wet and moist areas in yards.
The shadbush grows throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. It is native to the coastal plain, which includes Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia.
Fruits appear after flowers bloom in spring, then turn blackish as they mature in June-July. Fruits contain seeds; birds and other wildlife eat the ripe fruits and spread the seeds.