Trees

trees

 

Here you can find all the trees native to the UK whether they flourish on wet ground, lime rich or chalk soils. Furthermore you can find details on the leaves, fruits, seasonal behavior and much more. Click on any tree listed to see the details.

 

ALDER (Alnus glutinosa)

aldera1alder4Alnus glutinosa is a deciduous tree which prefers wet ground and can reach up to 20 m in height. The yellow green male and small red female flowers appear before the leaves and can be on the same tree. Leaves are alternate and ovate 10cm long 7.5cm across, toothed, dark green and smooth above with a tuft of hair in the vein axils beneath. Its fruits are clusters of woody cone like catkins, which are green turning to brown and stay on the tree throughout winter. The seeds are nut like with narrow cork wings which help it keep afloat on water.

alder_s_Alder wood is yellow when seasoned and was favoured by clog makers because of its durability, it is still used for shoe soles and broom handles today.

Collect seed cones from the tree from September onwards,once they show signs of opening. Keep them in a warm place and the scales will open fully and release the seeds. Sow the seeds in early spring allowing at least 4 weeks in the cold prior to sowing.

Superstition proclaims that the tree was embodied with a malign spirit, because when cut it takes on a blood-orange tinge as if bleeding.

 

 


ASH (Fraxinus excelsior)

ash1aash2Fraxinus excelsior is a tall deciduous tree that can reach up to 40m, growing mainly on lime rich soils. It is easily identified by its leaf which is made up of 6-12 paired leaflets, and in winter by its black buds. The leaves are 30cm long sharply toothed and dark green above and hairy at the base. Tiny purple flowers appear before the leaves between April and May. The tree can have either male or female flowers or both, in clusters 2-5cm long. Fruit called ‘keys’ grow in bunches up to 5cm long with twisted wings appearing in August, green in colour ripening to brown.

Seeds can be collected from August to January either from the tree or the ground. Green keys should be stratified and sown the following spring, ash5

ash.1_cbut still may take 18 months to germinate. Brown keys will require pretreatment.

Legend has it that Odin carved the first man out of a piece of ash wood called Yggdrasil, the Tree of the World.

 

 

 

 


BEECH (Fagus sylvatica)

beech_a beech2 Fagus sylvatica is a deciduous tree that reaches 30m in height and likes well drained chalk soils especially chalk hillsides and will tolerate shade. Its leaves start pale green in colour turning dark glossy green, alternate, 4-9cm in size, oval, with pointed smooth edge.Between April and May flowers are produced, male flowers are numerous and produced on long stalks, female flowers are produced in pairs on short stalks. Triangular shaped seeds in spiny shells are produced in September. This tree can be be clipped closely and still remain dense making it suitable for growing as hedging. Beechwood bends easily and is ideal for making furniture particularly chairs.

 

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Beech seeds may be collected from the ground, but discard the first to fall. Good mast crops rotate usually on a three yearly cycle.Test seeds by putting in water – fertile seeds sink. Sow immediately but protect from predators and frost.

 

 

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Chairmakers once worked with beechwood using primitive lathes to turn furniture legs.

 

 


BIRCHES (Betula pendula)

sbirch5 silver1Betula pendula is Silver Birch (right), Betula pubesens is Downy Birch.

Silver Birch is the larger of the two trees reaching up to 30m. Its silver bark and graceful pendulous branches make it easy to identify. Its alternating leaves are 2/7cm long, double toothed and triangular, turning yellow in autumn. Male and female catkins grow on the same tree. Male seeds grow on the tips of twigs turning yellow with pollen. Female catkins grow at the leaf base during April and May. This tree prefers light well drained soil. Its wood is used for broom handles and the twigs for besom brooms.

Downy Birch leaves are similar to Silver Birch but more rounded with course even teeth. This tree has a smaller bushier habit than its relation, and prefers wetter soil. The wood is soft and is used for furniture,and tool handles.

Both trees will colonize waste ground but are short lived. They can be killed off by taller trees as they cannot tolerate shade. They make an excellent nurse crop for slower growing trees. You will be more inclined to find hybrids of the two than true species.

Collect seeds from the tree from August onwards while strobiles are in tact. Sow seeds in early spring, no pre-treatment is required. Seedlings are prone to dampening off and they do not like transplanting.

dbirch      birch-seed

Birch seeds                             Downy Birch

To Druids Silver birch was a holy tree, It was thought to have the power of renewal and purification.


BLACKTHORN (Prunus spinosa)


blackthorn_a bthorn3 Prunus spinosa is as large deciduous shrub and sometimes small tree, that can reach 9m in height. It grows in hedgerows and on the edges of scrub woodland and spreads by suckers to form dense thickets. The alternate leaves are 2-4cm long , oval with a blunt tip tapering at the base. Thorny black branches produce white flowers before the leaves appear in March. These turn to bluish black berries that have a white waxy covering, and are very bitter. The black hairstreak butterfly lays its eggs mainly on Blackthorn, and small birds find protection in its thorny branches. It provides good stock proof hedges and the thickets provide valuable protection for other plants.

Collect fruit from trees as soon as they turn black. And before the birds have eaten them all. Clean seed of pulp as soon as possible. Pretreatment is required, with all treated seeds sown by mid April to avoid secondary dormancy.

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Traditional wood used for making of Irish cudgels.


BOX (Buxus sempervirens)


box box2Buxus sempervirens is an evergreen shrub or small tree that can attain 2-5m in height, growing best on chalky soils. Its leaves are glossy green 15-30mm in size, oval tipped and notched in pairs. The stem has tiny yellow flowers, each cluster contains one male and several female flowers. In April these turn to egg shaped horned fruits that split into three segments, ripening brown in September. Its mature timber is yellow and sinks in water, when green its timber does not warp and is used for high quality carving.

 

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Collect fruit when brown in September Pretreatment required. Remove black seeds and stratify for 18 months. Cuttings root easily.

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Very popular for formal hedges and topia.


BROOM (Cytisus scoparius)


broom broom1 Cytisus scoparious is a deciduous shrub reaching 2m in height, growing well on light soils it can spread rapidly on disused sand and gravel pits. Its much branched stems are green and ridged with long divisions carrying small alternate leaves that are simple or trifolate, with untoothed leaflets. Yellow strongly scented pea flowers are produced in leaf spikes in mid summer, turning into small pea pods that ripen black. Which spring open with a ‘pop’ on warm sunny days.

Collect dry seed pods in late summer before they ‘pop’, extract seeds straight away and store in dry air tight containers. Seed has a hard coat and needs to be breached this is done by rubbing seedbroom2 on sand paper in one spot until a paler undercoat is seen. Or pour boiling water over them, allow to cool, then sow individually in light soil.

Commonly known as a magic shrub from which it was believed fairies often spoke from.


BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus catharticus/Frangula alnus)

testRhamus catharticus and Frangula alnus are deciduous and both share the common name Buckthorn.

Rhamnus catharticus (purging buckthorn) and is the larger of the two reaching up to 10m in height. Its new twigs are always at right angles and of two types, long and short. (see folklore) The short twigs produce flowers and fruit with some of the laterals ending in spines. Its oval leaves 3-7cm in size are finely toothed, paired on long twigs and bunched on short twigs. Greenish white flowers are produced on both male and female trees and appear in May. Its black ripened berries appear in September. This tree is the food plant of the brimstone caterpillar.

Frangula alnus(alder buckthorn) rarely exceeds 5m in height and its branches are spineless. Its glossy dark green leaves, obviate, 7cm in size are untoothed turning red in Autumn. Tiny green flowers appear in May and June, turning into yellow berries that ripen red .

alderbuc

Frangula alnus Alder buckthorn

Rhamnus cartharticus – collect fruit from trees in October, two weeks before fully ripe

Frangula alnus- collect fruit from tree in October before turning black.

(Purging buckthorn image) Purging buckthorn Rhamnus cartharticus

Both seeds require no pretreatment. Remove seed from fruit and stratify, sow in March.

Rhamnus cartharticus- short shoots grow opposite to form a cross, and was thought to protect from evil.


CHERRY GEAN (Prunus avium)


cherry  cherry4aPrunus avium is a tall broad crowned deciduous tree that can quickly reach up to 30m in height, easily recognised by its shiny reddish brown bark with peeling strips. It is found in mixed deciduous woodland and old hedgerows. It can spread by suckers but these can be sterile and so unable to produce fruit. Dull green drooping leaves 8-15cm in size with oval blunt teeth are produced on alternate sides of the stems. Attractive white flowers appear in clusters before the leaves in mid to late April. By July these will have turned to edible fruit ripening red. The tree likes lime rich and clay soils.The root stock is still used to this day for growing a lot of our ornamental trees.

cherry2aFruit should be collected as soon as it turns yellow in July. Collect fruit from a group of fertile trees, as suckered trees do not produce fruit. Also look for stones at the base of tree left behind by birds that have eaten the fruit. Clean seeds of pulp as soon as possible and stratify until early March then sow. Or pretreat.

Makes fine furniture, veneers and sweet smoking pipes.


CRAB APPLE (Malus sylvestris)

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crabapplMalus sylvestris is a small thorny deciduous tree reaching 2-10m in height. It grows on chalky soil in woodlands and hedgerows. Its leaves are alternate 3-11cm in size, elliptical, finely toothed and pointed at the tip. Small clusters of white tinged pink flowers appear from April to June. Yellow bitter fruits are produced that ripen to a reddish tinge in September. The fruit is still used for jams, jelly and wines. Its wood is excellent for carving and burning, also providing the root stock for many ornamental fruit trees.

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Collect fruit as soon as it is ripe, remove seeds and stratify straight away Seeds can be pretreated prior to sowing. Sow in February in a sheltered site and protect from frost.

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Fermented crab apple juice called verjuice was regarded as a remedy for sprains and scalds.


DOGWOOD (Cornus sanguinea)


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Cornus sanguinea is a tall deciduous shrub that sends out suckers to form dense thickets reaching up to 4m in height. Growing best on chalk or limestone soil it spreads by suckers or seeds dropped by birds. Blood red shoots and crimson autumn leaves give its latin name Sanguinea. It has dull green hairy leaves 4-10cm long with veins curving to the tip, which are attractive to caterpillers of the green hairsteak butterfly. Unpleasant smelling greenish white flowers appear in June and are particulary attractive to insects. Round bitter black berries grow in clusters ripening in August or September. It has white hard wood that has a variety of uses from skewers, to making charcoal.

 

dwood3Collect fruit when ripe and stratify straight away. Sow seeds in spring. Cuttings root well.

The Welsh call it the wax tree because the berries are a source of lamp oil.


ELDER (Sambucus nigra)


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Sambucus nigra is a small deciduous much branched tree often shrubby, growing up to 10m in height. Its leaves that are paired with 2 to 4 pairs per stem are dull green in colour, 3-12cm in size, oval in shape, pointed and sharply toothed. Large round heads of sweetly scented white flowers appear in June and July these turn into berries that ripen black in August which droop when mature. This tree grows vigorously on rich disturbed soils which has a high nitrogen content and will colonize an area quickly. Both fruits and flowers make wines and jams that are rich in vitamin C. Its wood is hard and yellowish and is used to make small items such as, wooden spoons and toys.

 

elder

Collect fruit as soon as ripe in October. Remove flesh and sow immediately. Good germination rate also responds well to cuttings

elder1fChildren made whistles and pea- shooters, by hollowing out the stems.


ELM (English Ulmus procera)


wychelmelm1aUlmus procera is a deciduous tree with a domed crown reaching up to 35m, grows in woodland and hedgerows often spreading by suckers. Its dark green leaves grow alternately on its stems, 4-9cm long, oval, doubled toothed and pointed at the tip. Small clusters of reddish flowers turning to green seed pods are produced in February before the leaves appear. The pods turn in to a form of nut with circular wings in May how ever they rarely produce many and are often sterile. Elm wood is very durable and tough and is used today for keels of boats and harbour works. Due to its stately appearance elm was planted widely in the past both in hedgerows and as ornamental trees in parklands. The demand was such that suckers were used to propagate them, this produced genetically similar trees. When Dutch elm disease appeared it was able to have a devastating affect.

elm1abelm1ba

Collect seeds from tree when wings turn brown,however they rarely produce fertile seeds.Sow immediately and water seeds in to place before covering lightly with compost. Seeds germinate very quickly.


GORSE (Ulex europaeus)


gorse

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Ulex europaeus is large evergreen shrub growing up to 2m in height. It grows on acid, sandy heaths, and exposed windy sites. The “leaves” are rigid furrowed spines with smaller spines often in threes on the larger spines. Yellow flowers are produced almost all year round and are often mistaken for broom. They turn in to dark brown pods which make a loud pop when opening, to releace their small black seeds. It was often planted as a hedge or windbreak around livestock.It is also a good source of fuel as it burns well, this is a problem as it causes heath fires to spread rapidly. Small birds finds its sharp foliage ideal protection in perticular the Dartford warbler.

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Collect seeds by picking the soft brown pods in late summer. Treat seeds as per broom sow in pots or rootainers as seedlings do not like transplanting also protect from frost.

gorse3While gorse is in flower Britain will never be conquered


GUELDER ROSE (Viburnum opulus)

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guelderrViburnum opulus is a small deciduous tree or shrub growing no more than 4m in height. Damp hedgerows,woods or rich disturbed soils is where it grows best. Dull green leaves in pairs, 2-4 pairs of leaflets with one at tip per stem. Oval, pointed and sharply toothed 3-12cm long stalkless. Large heads of white flowers appear in June, the outer showy ones are infertile attract insects to smaller fertile flowers in the center. Clusters of berries ripening red appear from September onwards staying on stems after leaves fall. Its ancient title was water or swamp elder because it produced elder type fruit and liked damp growing conditions.

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Collect fruits before they are fully ripe from shrubs. Store fruit in plastic bags until rotten. Seperate seeds from pulp in water ( maceration ). Sow seed immediately they are inclinded to germinate in July/August.
Winter.

 

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Guelder rose refers to a unusual form of the wild tree which was found in Guelderland Holland.


HAZEL (Corylus avellana)


hazel_x

hazel1b1Corylus avellana is a deciduous shrub sometimes small tree but rarely exceeding 8m in height. It grows in hedgerows and as understorey in woodland. Large 5-12cm almost circular coarse leaves grow alternating, narrow pointed and double toothed with a drawn out tip. Its striking feature is in winter when its bright yellow catkins, which are its male flowers appear from January to April. Tiny red female flowers appear on the same bush which turn to nuts. One to four nuts appear in green cups which ripen to brown in September. It is regularly coppiced for its hazel rods which have many uses.

hazel

Collect nuts from the tree when brown, nuts on the ground may be early ones which have fallen and may not be viable Sow straight away but protect from predators. Crack the shell with a toffee hammer but don’t remove shell. Green nuts can be statified until they show signs of chitting.

Hazel rods have been used by man for thousands of years, conical boat frames where made from them.


HAWTHORN (Crataegus monogyna)


hawthorn_1

hawthorn2a

Crataegus monogyna is a quick growing deciduous small tree or shrub that can reach up to 18m in height if left uncut, but is usually kept trimmed to make an impenetrable barrier. In the days before electric fencing thousands where planted to mark boundaries and keep livestock in place, sadly modern farming practices are responsible for them being ripped out. It grows well on chalky soils, in woodland margins,open glades and hedgerows. It has dark olive green leaves 2-5cm in size,with deep lobes that are toothed near the tips and grow on spiny branches. Clusters of white scented flowers appear in May giving rise to it being known as Maythorn. These turn to egg shaped berries ripening to scarlet in late September, its fruits contains one seed unlike midland hawthorn which has two seeds per fruit.

hawthorn

Collect from trees as soon as fruit is ripe. Trees will produce more fruit than regular cut hedges. Remove pith from stone and stratify for 16 months, or pretreat and sow in spring.

hthornbuIn pagan times to destroy a Hawthorn invited peril


HOLLY (Ilex aquifolium)

Holly.a_

holly1aIlex aquifolium is a narrow crowned evergreen tree growing up to 20m in height. It will grow in most aspects except wet ground, but in deep shade usually remains a shrub. Glossy dark green leaves are alternate on the stems, 5-12cm long oval with sharp spines. Small white scented flowers male and female on separate trees appear in May in open sites, when grown in deep shade it is usually sterile. These turn into berries ripening red and remain on the tree throught the winter, making them a good source of food for wildlife. Its wood is white and hard and is used for carving and woodcuts.

holly_aCollect berries anytime throughout winter from trees, beware of leaves.The flesh is hard to remove, stratify in damp sand for a year and sow in second year. They can be pretreated but not always successful.

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Superstition said it was unlucky to cut a holly tree down it had the power to ward off evil.


HORNBEAM (Carpinus betulus)


hbeam_1

hornbeam_1

Carpinus betulus is a deciduous tree reaching up to 30m in height. It grows in woodland and hedgerows and will tolerate shade and clipping, it is native only in the south east . Dark green leaves on alternate sides of stems 4-10cm in size, sharp, doubled toothed, oval with a point. Long yellow tinged red male catkins and smaller green female catkins appear between March and May, turning to clusters of small nuts in 3 lobe bracts in October and November. It makes very good hedging. Its wood is used for beansticks, charcoal and because it is a hard wood mallets chopping boards.

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hornbeamCollect nuts from trees while still slightly green from November onward. Stratify straight away after breaching nuts. Sow in spring, nuts can be pretreated.

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Horn means ‘hard’ and beam means ‘tree’ in old English


LIME (Tilia platyphyllos)

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Tilia platyphyllos is a tall deciduous tree reaching up to 30m in height, growing on limestone soils.Smooth dark green leaves growing alternate on its stems, heartshaped 12cm in length,sharply toothed and pointed. Sweet scented greenish yellow flowers are produced in clusters of 4-15 with a leaf like bract in early July. These turn into nuts which are smooth or with a slight rib which shed with the bract as well. The wood is soft and grained making it ideal for carving and because it does not warp it is still used to make piano keys. Its handsome shape has made a favourite for parks and avenues.

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Collect nuts from tree when bracts turn brown. Stratify immediately and sow in spring germination will probably occur the following year. They can be preteated.


MAPLE FIELD (Acer campestre)


fmaple1

maple_leaf

Acer campestre is a small deciduous tree growing up to 20m in height. Growing in open woods and hedgerows in chalky soils of southern half of England. Small leaves deeply divided with 3-5 lobes opening pink in spring, growing opposite on the stem 4-7cm become dull green turning to amber in the autumn. Yellowish green male and female flowers appear in May turning into paired fruit, with pale green wings spreading horizontally and tinged pink. Maple wood is used for veneers and wall panelling.

maple

Collect seeds from tree from October through to January. Stratify and sow in spring however germination may be the following season. Also pretreat and sow in spring.

maple_leaf_1maple_bud

In the Celtic tree calendar the maple period is from October the 14 to October the 23.


OAK SESSILE (Quercus petraea)

oak1ap

oaktree1Quercus petraea is a large domed deciduous tree reaching up to 40m in height growing in woodlands on acid soils. It is often confused with quercus robur as it looks similar. It as dark green glossy leaves without the ears at the base.The male flowers are similar to robur but the female are bud shaped and stalkless these appear in late April along with the leaves. Slightly smaller acorns in cups with smaller scales are produced in September ripening brown. Its wood was used as charcoal because it would burn steadily. Its bark was used for making leather because it contains tannin. The differences are petraea – seeds on stalks leaves without, robur – leaves on stalks seeds without.

oak_flowersCrops vary from year to year, collect nuts from tree or ground when brown, after the first frosts. Sow straight away to a depth of 10cm. In spring remove top 5cm and they should shoot in late April, protect from predators.


OAK ENGLISH (Quercus robur)

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oaktree1Quercus robur is a large crowned deciduous tree reaching up to 35m in height. Growing in woodlands and lowland on heavy fertile soils. Dull green leaves with 4-7 unequal lobes, 5-12cm long growing alternately along its stems without stalks. Appearing at the same time as the leaves in late April, are clusters of pale yellow male catkins and tiny female flowers at the tips of shoots. Nuts in small scaled cups on stalks called acorns appear in late September, they are green ripening brown. Oak wood is a strong and durable timber and was the main ingredient in boat and house construction. The English oak has been the king of British trees hence its name robur meaning sturdy.

Crops vary from year to year Collect nuts from tree or ground when brown after the first frosts. Sow straight away to a depth of 10cm, in spring remove top 5cm and they should shoot in late April, protect from predators.

oak_budThis oak is sacred to the Druids and mistletoe from from it was used in secret rites.


ROSE DOG (Rosa canina)


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rosehipRosa canina is a small deciduous shrub growing up to 3m in height. It is common in woods, scrub and hedgerows all around Britain. It has pale green pinnate leaves with 2-3 pairs of oval, toothed leafets and a single one at the tip, These grow on stout curving stems covered with curved thorns. June-July sees large blooms ranging from white to deep pink although not lasting long. These turn into hips ripening red in autumn, the seeds inside are protected by irritating hairs but small birds still manage to eat them.

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Collect hips in the autumn when they turn red beware of the thorns. Remove seeds and stratify they will take two winters before germinating. You can also pretreat and sow in spring. Responds well to layering and cuttings.

Rose hips are a good source of vitamin C.


ROWAN ((Mountain ash) Sorbus aucuparia)


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Sorbus aucuparia is a small, attractive deciduous tree reaching up to 20m in height. It likes light soils and will grow in mountainous and lowland areas. Growing on alternate sides of its stems are dark green pinnate leaves. Which are made up of 5-9 pairs of pointed, oblong leafets 3-6cm long, sharp-toothed which turn yellow or red in autumn. May sees clusters of creamy white flowers with broad heads appearing. these turn into clusters of berries ripening red in late August early September. Its yellow-grey wood is flexible and strong and was used for tool handles, it some times replaced yew for making long-bows. Thrushes find it a source of food all through winter, mistle thrush will defend a rowen tree as its food territorRowen flowers.

Collect fruit from trees when red. To maximize chances of germination in first spring collect berries early just as they turn scarlet. Remove all flesh straight away and stratify, sow in spring. You can also stratify whole and sow in the second spring. Also try pretreatment.

rowenbudThe tree was planted out side houses to ward off witches.


SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippophae rhamnoides)

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seabucktHippophar rhaminodes is a small deciduous tree or shrub which is thorny, silvery and can reach upto 11m in height. It grows in coastal areas and exposed sites is usually a shrub. Silvery green, narrow pointed leaves,1-6cm long grow alternately or spiralled on its stems. Green stalkless male flowers and smaller stalked female flowers appear on separate trees in April. Turning into berry like fruits ripening orange in September which remain on tree throughout the winter. It as been widely planted as an ornamental shrub for its decorative foliage and berries.

seabuck_fruit_Collect fruit in the autumn beware of thorns. Stratify fruits whole and sow the following spring. Also spreads by suckers.

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Juice may have been used in past to give horses coats a healthy shine.


SPINDLE (Euonymus europaeus)

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spindleEuonymus europaeus is a small deciduous tree or shrub reaching a height of 6m,growing in woodland and scrub on chalky soils. Pale green leaves, elliptical and pointed grow in pairs on the stem. They are 10cm long, finely toothed and turn red in winter. Clusters pale green flowers appear in angles of leaves in late May. turning into four lobed berry like fruits. These ripen red and split open to reveal orange seeds in late September.The wood is white and hard and was used to make spindles for spinning wool. Most of the year this bush does not stand out but when autumn comes it burst in view with its red foliage and pinkish red fruits

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Collect fruit from bushes in autumn when orange seeds can be seen. Remove pink fruit and orange seed coat and sow immediately. Alternately straify seeds over winter and sow in spring

spindle_flowerIt is used to day to make high quality charcoal for artists.


WAYFARING TREE (Viburnum lantana)


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wfaring_treeViburnum lantana is a small deciduous tree or bush reaching up to 6m in height. growing in hedgerows,thickets on chalky soils.Green leaves which have white hairs underneath grow opposite along its stems. they are oval,4-14cm long with toothed edges. May sees large white flower heads appearing with all the flowers fertile unlike the guelder rose.These turn in to oval berries turning red then ripening black in August. The wood is very hard and was used to make pipe mouth pieces and the berries were used to make ink.

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Collect the fruit from bushes when black again they are a favorite with birds. Remove fruit from seeds and sow immediately protect seedlings from frosts.


WHITEBEAM (Sorbus aria)


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Sorbus aria is a small rounded crown deciduous tree reaching 15m in height growing on chalky soils. Oval, sharply toothed leaves growing alternately on its stems 8cm in length,with white dense hairs underneath, turning golden in autumn. Clusters of sweetly scented white flowers appear in May turning to berry like fruits ripening red in September. The wood is hard and tough and was used for making cogs for machinery. but now its main use is decorative planting This is due to the trees compactness allowing it to be planted in small areas.

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Collect fruits as soon as fruits ripen in autumn. Remove fruit from seeds immediately and sow. However stratification will increase chances of germination. As will pretreatment

wbeambudIt was used as a boundary marker by the Anglo Saxons


WILD SERVICE (Sorbus torminalis)

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Sorbus torminalis is a conical shaped deciduous tree reaching up to 25m in height and one of Britain’s rarest trees. Grows mainly in old oak woodlands and often lime rich soils Green, triangular lobed leaves grow alternately on its stems, 5-9cm long sharply toothed and pointed turning red in Autumn Rounded head clusters of creamy white flowers appear in May turning to berry like fruits ripening brown that smell like fermenting ale when crushed.

wservice1Collect fruits from tree when brown. Ensure there are other trees near by as seeds from a single tree may be sterile. Remove flesh from fruit immediately and sow. Stratification will aid germination, a large amount of seeds needed to ensure some germination.

wservice_a1Kentish name was Chequer tree and was eaten as a cure for colic.


YEW (Taxus baccata)

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yew1aTaxus baccata is a tall evergreen conifer tree reaching up to 25m in height. It grows in woods and will tolerate shade, does well on chalky soils. It is widely used in large gardens as hedges and topiary. Dark green, flat, needle like leaves, 1-3cm long growing on two sides of the stems Yellow male and tiny green female flowers appear on separate trees in late February. These turn to red, fleshy, cup shaped berry like fruits in August. The wood is orange brown with an attractive grain which polishes well, flexibility of the wood made it ideal for long bows. The foliage and seeds are poisonous so alot of old yews are found in church yards which where wall and kept livestock out.

yew_1Collect fruit when brightly coloured from a group of trees. Also look for seeds at base of trees in birds droppings. Remove flesh and stratify for two seasons, sow in early spring very slow growing. Respond well to cuttings To

Druids the yew is a sacred tree.