Guelder-rose

©Karen Lloyd

Guelder-rose

Scientific name: Viburnum opulus
The Guelder-rose is a small tree of hedgerows, woods, scrub and wetlands. It displays large, white flowers in summer and red berries in autumn, which feed all kinds of birds, including Bullfinches.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 4m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Guelder-rose is a small tree of woodland edges, hedgerows, grassland scrub, fens and riversides, and is frequently planted along roadsides or in gardens and parks. The large, white flowers appear in June and July and are followed by clusters of red berries, which are an important food source for birds, such as Bullfinches and Mistle Thrushes. Its broad, lobed leaves are very recognisable when they turn brilliant red in the autumn.

How to identify

The Guelder-rose has broad, lobed leaves that turn red in the autumn. It displays umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of large, china-white flowers in summer, and red berries in autumn.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

In the winter, Guelder-rose berries are a favourite food of Waxwings visiting the UK from Northern Europe. These attractive, pink-and-grey birds can be spotted in flocks on bushes full of berries, often in towns, car parks and gardens.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.