Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus) - leaves - September 2017
A Guelder rose shrub in the Hill Barton industrial estate of Exeter, UK. === Guelder rose is a spreading shrub. It can reach up to 4m high and can spread from 2-5m. It has greyish, hairless stems. The leaves are opposite, simple, broad and three-lobed with coarse, serrated edges and sparse fine hairs on the underside. They are 5–10cm long, with a rounded base and coarsely serrated margins. In spring, the leaves are green, and they change to orange-yellow or red in autumn. The flowers are distinct, branched inflorescence of creamy-white, or sometimes pink, flat-topped flowers appear in May to July. Each cluster of flowers is encircled by a ring of larger, sterile, flowers. The fruits are round, translucent, bright red berries appear in autumn in hanging bunches. The three lobed leaves have leaf stems with a channel running down the centre and a pair of round glands near the apex of the leaf. The buds are green, hairless and have a pair of scales. Buds are pressed closely to the hairless twigs. The common name 'guelder rose' relates to the Dutch province of Gelderland, where a popular cultivar, the snowball tree, supposedly originated. Guelder rose grows in damp, neutral or calcareous soils at low altitudes throughout the UK, but is rare in Scotland. Look for it in damp places along riversides and in fens, damp scrub, old hedgerow and woods among Alnus and Salix thickets. It is planted in parks and gardens and plants which spread from these sites to the wild sometimes include yellow-fruited cultivars. The red berries are an important food source for birds, including bullfinch and mistle thrush. The shrub canopy provides shelter for other wildlife. The flowers are especially attractive to hoverflies. Guelder rose is one of the national symbols of Ukraine and is mentioned in many folk songs and featured in art and embroidery. Guelder rose is grown as an ornamental plant in the UK due to its pretty flower heads and bright juicy berries. There are many cultivars of it in garden centres. Its berries can be mildly toxic if eaten raw but they can be cooked into jelly or jam. The term cramp bark is related to the properties of the bark's ability to reduce smooth muscle tightness. It is called cramp bark as relieving this type of muscle tightness is most often associated with relieving women's menstrual (period) cramps. However, this can also be used during pregnancy for cramps or pain and general muscle cramping.[ This species may be susceptible to damage from the Viburnum beetle, which defoliates, or removes, leaves from the shrub. Holes in the leaves and brown, dried leaf edges are signs of an attack. It may also be affected by leaf spot. Other common names: guelder rose crampbark cranberry dog eller dog rowan European cranberry bush European cranberry tree gatten gatten tree marsh alder ople tree red elder rose elder snowball tree water elder whitten tree
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