Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Tree-Spotter's Guide to Flowers: 5

This is Sambucus racemosa, an introduced relative of our native elder Sambucus nigra that's quite commonly naturalised in Scotland but not seen very often further south. This is one of several large specimens on the edge of Blaid's Wood in Durham. It flowers much earlier than our native elder and the flowers are produced in dense conical inflorescences rather than the familiar flat 'plates' seen in elder. The ripe fruit is scarlet, not black.

Hawthorn or May blossom. If the flowers have a single stigma in the centre it's Crataegus monogyna, if there are two it's C. laevigata (but check several flowers because this can be a bit variable on the same plant). The flowers have a distinct fishy smell that's attractive to flies.

Beech Fagus sylvatica - dangling tufts of stamens produced alongside the fresh new foliage.


  1. Thanks again and double thanks for Middlehope Burn.

  2. Hi Adrian, Have you expored Stanhope Dene and Shittlehope Burn (at the other end of Stanhope)? - You might like those too...