Meet the trees: Guelder rose

Meet the trees: Guelder rose

Ah, the Guelder rose, a shrub with a name that sounds like it belongs in a Jane Austen novel. But this plant is no damsel in distress. Native to the UK and Ireland, the Guelder rose is a powerhouse of biodiversity and carbon capture.

Let's start with the basics. The Guelder rose is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 4 metres tall. It's native to the UK and Ireland, as well as other parts of Europe and Asia. The shrub is known for its clusters of bright red berries, which look like they belong on a Christmas wreath. But don't be fooled by their festive appearance - these berries are toxic to humans, so leave them for the birds and other wildlife to enjoy.

Speaking of wildlife, the Guelder rose is a veritable oasis of biodiversity. Its flowers are a magnet for bees and other pollinators, while the berries provide food for birds and small mammals. The shrub's leaves also host a variety of insects, including the caterpillars of the beautiful Guelder rose moth.

But that's not all. The Guelder rose is also a champion carbon capturer. Like all plants, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis. And according to the Woodland Trust, a single Guelder rose shrub can capture up to 1.5 kg of carbon per year. That's a lot of carbon for a little shrub!

Now, let's get to the folklore. The Guelder rose has a long history of use in traditional medicine and folklore. In Ireland, the shrub was believed to protect against witchcraft and the evil eye. In England, it was said to ward off witches and evil spirits, and was often planted near houses for protection.

And in case you were wondering about the name, "Guelder" is thought to refer to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where the shrub was once common. But don't let the Dutch connection fool you - this shrub is as British as a cup of tea.

In conclusion, the Guelder rose may not be as well-known as some of its tree counterparts, but it's a force to be reckoned with. From its biodiversity benefits to its carbon capture abilities, this shrub is a valuable member of our native flora. And if you're ever feeling a bit witchy, just plant a Guelder rose in your garden for some extra protection.

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