IOne of the most beautiful of the genus, this viburnum grows naturally on the islands of East Asia. It flowers early in spring, producing white inflorescences with a ring of large sterile flowers surrounding the smaller fertile central ones. Only after flowering do the large round leaves open, reddish and wrinkled but soon changing to deep green. Before falling, they take on carmine autumn colour.
The scarlet leaved viburnum is self-sterile, so produces berries only if there are other plants nearby of different origin. When cross-pollination is successful, red berry clusters are produced, changing later in autumn to black.
Like many other viburnums, this species is happiest in partial shade, for example in woodland gardens. In its native habitat it favours rich forest soils which retain moisture. In these conditions it is sparsely branched and erect, reaching about 4m in height, but in full light it remains lower.