Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Viburnum macrocephalum ‘Sterile’

A form of Viburnum macrocephalum Fortune. Frost-hardy, rounded, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub with elliptic, toothed leaves, to 10cm long, and dense, terminal cymes, to 15cm across, of salverform white flowers in spring.  To 5m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers']. Possibly naturally occurring, although long selected in gardens,  and treated as a variety rather than a cultivar here.

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This beautiful plant exists in the garden of the Horticultural Society, where it has flowered, having been received in June, 1844, from Mr. Fortune, who found it in Chusan and at Shanghae. […] Mr. Fortune speaks of it thus:- “This noble species was also found in the gardens of the rich in the north of China, and will probably prove perfectly hardy in England.  There is a tree of it in a garden on the island of Chusan at least twenty feet high, which, in the month of May every year, is covered with its snow-white blossoms.  When grafted, it blooms on small plants in pots, and is not unlike a white Hydrangea, by which name it is known amongst the Chinese.  It is certainly one of the finest hardy shrubs that have been introduced.  Even in the greenhouse, and in a pot, its beauty is conspicuous.  Hitherto it has been grown in a mixture of loam and sandy peat.” ’  [BR f.43/1847].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.990/1850].  Desideratum to Loddiges’, 13th February, 1848 [MP A2933-1, p.172], a probable source, although it was also requested of John Lindley on 1st February, 1849 [MP A2933-1, p.182a].


Published Jul 09, 2009 - 05:00 PM | Last updated Sep 05, 2011 - 05:26 PM

Shown are toothed leaves and dense, terminal cymes of salverform white flowers.  Botanical Register f.43, 1847.

Viburnum macrocephalum ‘Sterile’ | BR f.43/1847 | BHL


Family Caprifoliaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, China

Common Name

Snowball bush

Name in the Camden Park Record

Viburnum macrocephalum 


Confidence level high