Prunus padus (Bird Cherry)
Other Names: Black Dogwood, Hagberry, Hogberry
Description: Smooth, greyish-brown bark, which creates an unpleasant smell, and its twigs are a dull deep brown with marking that are pale. Shoots are hairy when young, but the more they mature, the hairless they get.
Uses: Black cherries are used for dyeing wool or making liqueur. The bark creates a reddish-brown dye that used to be used to colour fishing nets. Bird cherry wood is quite light, and it used for making small objects (e.g. tool handles and wooden boxes). It has also been used to treat coughs, conjunctivitis, kidney stones, anaemia, bronchitis, and many more medicinal problems.
Conservation Value: Spring flowers provide an early food source for pollinators, and the cherries are eaten by birds (e.g. song thrush and blackbird) and mammals (e.g. wood mouse, badger, dormouse).
Preferred Locations: Native to Northern Europe and in Common in the north of England, Wales and East Anglia. Commonly found in wet woodland, streams, riverbanks and hedgerows.
Size: Mature trees can grow up to 25m
Time to reach full height: 20-50 years.
Lifespan: 200 years.
Rhamus cathartica (Purging Buckthorn)
Other Names: Common Buckthorn, Buckthorn
Description: Small, spiny tree with greyish-brown bark and spiny branches. Leaves are dark green, glossy, and toothed.
Uses: The leaves and bark have been used for centuries for making various colours of dye while the berries were ones used as a laxative. Alder Buckthorn was and is regarded as the very best for producing charcoal for gunpowder and was prized for this use.
Conservation Value: Main food plant of Brimstone Butterfly (the caterpillars eat the leaves). Flowers provide source of pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinating insects. Its dense growth makes it a great nesting site for many birds.
Preferred Location: Found in woodland and scrub in England and southern Wales. A hardy tree that grows well in most soils in shade/sunlight.
Size: Can grow to 8m with a canopy spread of 3m
Time to reach full height: 20-30 years
Lifespan: 100 years