Nature Notes

Guelder Rose

The Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus) is a bush that is a member of the Honeysuckle family and was first cultivated in the province of Gueldersland in Holland. When first grown in England it was called 'Gueldres Rose' In June the plant produces white flowers up to 4 inches, (10cm), across that have inner and outer petals. The inner petals provide the nectar for insects such a hoverflies which frequently visit them, whilst the inner petals are sterile. The fruits are loved by birds, such as blackbirds, and form during late August and into September, being vividly coloured and transluscent in large drooping clusters with each berry containing one seed. Each fruit gradually turns black and these backened berries were thought to have once been used to make ink. The leaves of Guelder Rose gradually turn a vivid purple-red colour soon after the fruits form, and because of this the plant becomes very noticeable and a sure sign that the autumn is not far away. Various names have been given to Guelder Rose such as Red Elder, Cramp Bark, Whitsun Rose and High Cranberry. The specimen pictured below was growing in a recently planted hedgerow, containing a mixture of species including Hawthorne and Hazel, alongside a favourite footpath I frequently walk along.