Viburnum tinus (laurustinus or laurustine) is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae, native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. Laurus signifies the leaves' similarities to bay laurel.

Viburnum tinus
Viburnum tinus00.jpg
Viburnum tinus by L. By Jacob van Huysum
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Viburnum
V. tinus
Binomial name
Viburnum tinus


Flower and leaves

It is a shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching 2–7 m (7–23 ft) tall and 3 m (10 ft) broad,[1] with a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are evergreen, persisting 2–3 years, ovate to elliptic, borne in opposite pairs, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, white or light pink, produced from reddish-pink buds in dense cymes 5–10 cm diameter in the winter. The fragrant flowers are bisexual and pentamerous. The flowering period is from October to June. Pollination is by insects. The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 5–7 mm long.

There are three subspecies:

  • Viburnum tinus subsp. tinus. Mediterranean region.
  • Viburnum tinus subsp. rigidum (syn. V. rigidum). Canary Islands.
  • Viburnum tinus subsp. subcordatum. Azores.

Leaves have domatia where predatory and microbivorous mites can be housed.[2]


It grows mainly in the Mediterranean maquis and in oak forests. It prefers shady, moist areas, at an altitude of 0–800 metres (0–2,625 ft) above sea level.[citation needed]


Viburnum tinus is widely cultivated for its winter blooms and metallic blue berries. It is hardy down to −10 °C (14 °F). The cultivars ‘Eve Price’,[3] ‘French White’[4] and ‘Gwenllian’[5] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[6]

Other usesEdit

V. tinus has a very beneficial medicinal property. The active ingredients are viburnin (a substance or more probably a mixture of compounds) and tannins. Tannins can cause stomach upset. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoid glucosides.[7]


In south-east Britain Viburnum tinus is the principal host of the viburnum beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni), the country's "number one pest species" according to the Royal Horticultural Society.[8]


  1. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  2. ^ Plants, mites and mutualism: leaf domatia and the abundance and reproduction of mites on Viburnum tinus (Caprifoliaceae). Raul Grostal and Dennis J. O'Dowd, Oecologia, April 1994, Volume 97, Issue 3, pages 308-315, doi:10.1007/BF00317319
  3. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price'". Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  4. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Viburnum tinus 'French White'". Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  5. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Viburnum tinus 'Gwenllian'". Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  6. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 107. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  7. ^ Iridoid glucosides from Viburnum tinus. Lamberto Tomassini, M. Francesca Cometa, Sebastiano Foddai and Marcello Nicoletti, Phytochemistry, January 1995, Volume 38, Issue 2, Pages 423–425, doi:10.1016/0031-9422(94)00618-4
  8. ^ "Top 10 pests". Wisley, England: Royal Horticultural Society. 19 January 2011. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2011.

External linksEdit