1 Small-leaf Lime Tilia cordata
Native to the UK. It has fragrant blossom in late spring. Its name has nothing to do with citrus fruit but is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon name ‘linde’. Its main claim to fame is as the ‘carver’s wood’ – the wood is straight-grained and virtually knot-free which makes it particularly suitable for carving. The work of the carver Grinling Gibbons, which graces St Paul’s Cathedral, is carved in lime. During the 18th and 19th centuries such was the popularity of finely carved wood decoration in both home and church that it was used in such quantities that home-grown lime timber is now a rarity. The timber is also used extensively in making drums and guitars as it possesses good resonance qualities and Morris dancer’s sticks are traditionally made of lime.
2 Beech Fagus sylvatica
Native to England, but not further north. In the forest this tree is so efficient at trapping light that a beech can grow under other trees but nothing can grow under a beech. The timber is used to make furniture, particularly Windsor chairs.
3 Silver Birch Betula pendula
Native to the UK. It has considerable bio-diversity value, providing food and habitat for more than 300 insect species and particularly specific fungi. In early mythology, the birch symbolised renewal and purification – bundles of birch twigs were used to drive out the spirits of the old year, and gardeners used the birch besom, or broom, to ‘purify’ their gardens. It was also used as a symbol of love and fertility. Also, the fragrant boughs of silver birch are used to gently beat oneself in the Scandinavian sauna.
4 Euonymus Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’
An unusual tree form of the popular evergreen garden shrub.
5 Chocolate Tree Azara microphylla
Native to Chile and Argentina and one of the few South American trees to grow in the UK. This small, evergreen tree with small, shiny, dark green leaves has tiny flowers in early spring that have a highly fragrant chocolate, or vanilla, scent.
6 Chinese Necklace Poplar Populus lasiocarpa
Native to central China. A rarity, notable for the large, bright green foliage with striking red stalks, and flowers in early spring. These trees are beautiful and not too large for the garden, but, they have a vigorous root system and should also not be planted close to other trees or buildings because of this.
7 Silk Tree Albizia julibrissin
Native to southwestern and eastern Asia. It is named after the Italian nobleman Filippo degli Albizzi, who introduced it to Europe in the mid-18th century. Its finely-cut leaves close during the night and during rain. The flowers have very fine petals that look like silky threads and are very attractive to bees, butterflies … and also hummingbirds! This tree is allelopathic to its neighbors, which means nothing will grow near it or under it.
8 Moroccan Broom Cytisus battandieri
Native to the Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Its other name is Pineapple Broom as the blossom smells of pineapple. Cytisus battandieri was named after the French pharmacist and botanist, Jules Aimé Battandier, an authority on Northwest African plants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
9 Lilac Syringa vulgaris
Native to southeastern Europe to eastern Asia. The name lilac is derived from the Arabic lilak, meaning ‘blueish’. It was introduced into European gardens about 1562. In 1597 the famous herbalist, John Gerard, noted that he had lilacs growing “in very great plenty”, but lilacs were not mentioned by Shakespeare who was writing at the same time. Lilac is a beautiful wood but tends to twist as it dries, which limits its use.
10 Cider Gum Eucalyptus gunnii nipholia
Native to Tasmania, Australia. The fastest growing tree, it only stops growing if it is very cold. The young leaves are round and sit opposite to each other on the branch, however, after about four years they change to a slender shape and are alternative on the branch.
11 Spindle Tree Euonymus europaeus
Native to East Asia, extending to the Himalayas. This small, decorative tree has flowers that are inconspicuous but the berry is bright pink and splits open to reveal orange seeds. The fine-grained wood was traditionally used to make spindles for hand-spinning wool, which use is the origin of the English name, and also for making knitting needles.
12 Fig Ficus carica
Native to the Middle East. The fig has been cultivated since ancient times and the earliest known remains date from about 9400–9200 BC in an archaeological site in the Jordan Valley. This predates the domestication of wheat, barley and beans, and may be the first known instance of agriculture. The Romans brought the fruit to Britain but the first tree was planted in the 16th century by Cardinal Pole at Lambeth Palace.
13 Cockspur Thorn Crataegus x prunifolia
A hybrid of a species of hawthorn native to eastern North America. A small, tough tree with thorns. It is decorative in leaf, flower, fruit and splendid autumn colour.
14 Strawberry Tree Arbutus unedo
Native in west of Ireland and south-west Europe, this tree is a rarity in the wild. This may be explained because it makes excellent charcoal. The fruit takes over a year to ripen, therefore the white flowers of the succeeding year appear on the tree at the same time as the bright red berries. The fruit looks delicious and is edible but is tasteless. This give rise to its botanical name ‘unedo’ which means ‘I eat one’ – once, never to be repeated! It has hard and beautiful red-coloured timber that is used in marquetry and inlay.
15 Paper Bark Maple Acer griseum
Native to central China It was introduced to cultivation in Europe in 1901. Grown for its decorative bark, it also has spectacular autumn foliage which can include red, orange and pink tones
16 Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa
Native to the western North America. Although the most common pine in north America it wasn’t known to science until 1826.
17 Red Oak Quercus rubra
Native to North America. It is one of the trees that give the impressive colours of the New England fall. In the UK the colouring is not so vivid. The acorns stay on the tree and take two years to ripen
18 Caucasian Fir Abies nordmanniana
Native to the Caucasus mountain. Named after the Finnish zoologist Alexander von Nordmann (1803–1866), who was the director of the Odessa Botanical Gardens. The Nordmann fir is one of the most important species grown for Christmas trees, being favoured for its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.
19 Blue Spruce Picea pungens glauca
Native to the Rocky Mountains, USA. This is an ornamental cultivar of the Colarado Spruce. The Navaho native Americans use this tree in traditional ceremonies and twigs are given as gifts to bring good fortune.