After an absence of 30 to 40 years Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus is making a come back to Priors Hill copse FOPHC butterfly spotter came across it while doing his butterfly walk. It is thought that birds brought the seeds back due to the predation of the berries it’s been to long for it to have come back from the copse seed bank.
Viburnum 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.
Collect fruits before they are fully ripe from shrubs. Store fruit in plastic bags until rotten. Separate seeds from pulp in water ( maceration ). Sow seed immediately they are inclined to germinate in July/August.
This is a very encouraging event for everyone, after years of concern this is a sign that our work as not been in vain.