Broadleaf Trees and Shrubs

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  • Foxglove Tree

    Foxglove Tree Seed

    An exotic looking tree that, in suitable positions, produces panicles of foxglove-like purple flowers. They appear in the spring before the leaves. The deciduous leaves are large and hairy and can grow huge if the tree is pollarded,  (branches cut back to the main stem) every couple of years. A really fast growing tree and in America and Asia is used for timber production. An old tradition in China is to sow a Paulownia seed when a girl is born and to chop the tree down when she marries, using the timber to make furniture for the newly-weds!

  • French Lavender Seed

    Lavandula stoechas

    French Lavender is an intensely aromatic shrublet with narrow grey leaves. The dark purple flowers are borne in dense terminal heads which are topped by prominent purple bracts, very attractive to bees. Plants require a warm sunny position and are often used as a low, informal hedge which needs to be lightly trimmed after flowering. It has a more acid scent than English Lavender

  • Gagnepain’s Barberry Seed

    Berberis gagnepainii

    A small evergreen shrub that forms an impenetrable thicket making it ideal for hedges. The yellow flowers are borne in clusters of 6 or 12, in early summer, which give rise to black berries with a bluish bloom. Tolerant of most conditions.

  • golden mimosa

    Golden Mimosa Seed

    Acacia baileyana

    Golden Acacia or Cootamundra Wattle is a  small evergreen tree/large shrub with silver grey ferny leaves and short spikes of pompom flowers between Dec and March. Lots of Pollen is  produced so the tree is good for early insects. In fact it is planted for honey production commercially as well as for floristry. However, in warmer countries it tends to escape and be a bit of a plague in the wild. In the UK, it definitely needs to be in a conservatory or very sheltered sunny corner. Quite tolerant of drought.

  • Golden Rain Tree / Pride of India Seed

    Koelreuteria paniculata

    The Golden Rain Tree is a  broad headed deciduous tree up to 12m high with pinnate leaves made up of 9 to 15 leaflets. In mid to late summer it produces small yellow flowers on large panicles which give rise to the air filled bladder like fruits containing the seed. In autumn these decorative bladders can turn from yellow to pink and then brown and are almost more ornamental then the flowers!

    small pic courtesy of Gerd Eichmann / CC BY-SA

  • Gorse

    Gorse Seed

    Ulex europaeus

    Gorse is a dense fiercely spiny shrub. In mild areas the yellow, pea-like flowers, smelling of coconut, are produced throughout the year but more usually they flower from March through to May. Brilliant for insects. The shrubs thrive on, and prefer, very poor light or stony soils. They can act as good pioneers, nursing other less tough plants until they’re big enough to survive. No maintenance necessary, but can be pruned quite hard (using armoured gloves!)

  • Green Alder

    Alnus viridis

    This is a deciduous short lived shrub, but  can become a small tree. Unlike other Alder species, long yellow catkins (up to 10cm) are borne in April when the tree is already in leaf. It has a smooth grey bark with shiny green leaves. Sometimes it is used as a nurse crop for timber trees since it doesn’t grow too big and compete. It also fixes nitrogen from the air. Often found growing with Willows it is usually one of the first to colonize scree.

  • Grey Alder Seed

    Alnus incana

    Grey Alder is an ideal small tree or bush for cold and wet situations. This very hardy tree has grey undersides to its leaves with yellowish brown catkins which are borne in late winter. The leaves are pointed at the end which makes it easier to distinguish between this and A. glutinosa. It has root nodules, as with other Alders, that fix nitrogen from the air and therefore helps with soil fertility – good for sites that need pioneers.

  • Guelder / Guilder Rose Seed

    Viburnum opulus

    Guelder Rose is a large vigorous shrub with 5 lobed maple like leaves which colour well in autumn. It produces flattened clusters of white flowers, (a bit like hydrangea flowers), in summer followed by red translucent fruits in the autumn, beloved of winter migrant birds. Can be pruned/trimmed in winter, quite hard. This is one of the prettiest seeds around – they are heart-shaped and various shades of pink!

  • Hackberry Seed

    Celtis occidentalis

    Hackberry is a deciduous tree although it can be evergreen in very warm climates. It has a deeply fissured corky bark. In the UK it rarely produces its black fruits.

  • Harlequin Glorybower

    Clerodendron trichotomum

    A soft leaved, deciduous, medium shrub with exotic white flowers and pink calyces in late summer. These are followed by white, maturing blue fruit sitting in the now cerise calyx. Flowers are heavily scented and leaves have a musty smell when crushed, redolent of peanut butter.

  • Hawthorn Seed

    Crataegus monogyna

    Hawthorn is a British native hedging plant. It produces a spectacular profusion of flowers in late spring which are visited by all sorts of different insects. There are red-brown fruits (haws) in the autumn. Hawthorn can make a large shrub or a small tree. It is also known as May or Quickthorn and is surrounded by superstition and folklaw. It is  associated with May-Day and other spring festivals.   Even in Anglo-Saxon times it was used to mark boundaries and it is one of the most common hedgerow trees, being amenable to chopping, laying, flail mowing etc

    The 2nd small picture shows unusual hawthorn topiary at Bryan’s Ground Garden in Hereford and 3rd pic is seed being stratified in our fridges, mixed with damp peat.

  • Hazel / European Hazel / Cobnut

    Corylus avellana

    Hazel is a large shrub or small multiple stemmed tree that produces delicate, yellow, long female catkins called lambs tails in late winter. Visited by very early insects It is used in large gardens as a shrub for screening. It produces the edible hazelnut. Every 8-10 years the long stems that have grown can be chopped down to very near ground level and the crown will start to grow again. This is Coppicing(pic is a mature coppice in Ireland)and is great for wildlife, since it provides dappled shade and open spaces. The resultant timber can be used for baskets, chairs, burning, turning and weaving into fences. Commercially selected varieties are grown for nuts in Kent, but also in Turkey for chocolate and chocolate spread manufacture (no names mentioned, ambassador!)

  • Henry's Maple

    Henry’s Maple Seed

    Acer henryi

    Henry’s Maple is a rare, small deciduous tree, often multi-stemmed when mature. It grows a wide, flatish crown and striated bark. The trifoliate leaves have fine red stems, hairy veins and good autumn colours of red, yellow and orange. Native of China, it was introduced to UK in 1903, but is still rarely grown. It is an excellent tree for smaller gardens since it casts only light shade and doesn’t grow too tall.

  • cotoneaster

    Herringbone Cotoneaster Seed

    Cotoneaster horizontalis

    Herringbone Cotoneaster is  low growing deciduous shrub with branches arranged like fish bones. It can be pruned quite hard without suffering. It bears bright red fruits in autumn together with a richly coloured foliage, and the branch arrangement in winter if grown against a wall is most attractive. The bees really enjoy the pink flowers, but the birds are slow to eat the berries.

  • Acer_grosseri_hersii-

    Hers’s Maple Seed

    Acer grosser var hersii

    Acer davidii subsp. grosseri var hersii

    Hers’s Maple is another Snakebark Maple, with olive green bark, striped with white and cream.  It grows to be a small, round headed, graceful tree, sometimes multi-stemmed. The foliage is almost oval  with 3 indistinct lobes. Autumn colour is orange and yellow. No pruning is needed. Useful for a smaller garden.

    Pic courtesy of Vojtěch Zavadil, CC BY-SA 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons



  • Hibiscus syriacus

    Hibiscus or Tree Hollyhock Seed

    Hibiscus syriacus

    Hibiscus is a late flowering, large or medium sized deciduous shrub. The large blue/purple trumpet shaped flowers are most impressive as they open between midsummer and autumn. Twiggy  growth that can become congested, but requires no regular pruning. It is very slow to come into leaf, only just appearing alive by mid May. The seeds look like small sea animals with fine cilia  hairs round the edges for swimming!


  • Alnus nitida

    Himalayan Alder Seed

    Alnus nitida

    Himalayan Alder is a nitrogen fixing tree good for growing in poor wettish soils and is very hardy. It will enrich the soil it is planted in. Unlike other Alders, the decorative male catkins are produced in autumn, not spring. They are very long. New growth tends to be purplish. It is used as a street tree in Pakistan, but not often grown here in UK.

  • Hollyberry Cotoneaster Seed

    Cotoneaster bullatus

    Hollyberry Cotoneaster is one of the larger cotoneasters. It is deciduous with corrugated leaves that colour richly in the autumn. The white or pink flowers give rise to large red fruits in early autumn which are attractive to birds. It is quite often used in landscaping schemes, roadsides etc and soon spreads, birds taking the berries and spreading the seed. It can be seen a menace but is useful on inhospitable sites.

  • Honey Locust

    Gleditsia triacanthos

    Honey Locust is an elegant, large deciduous tree with frond like leaves that is also very tolerant of polluted atmospheres. Inconspicuous white/green pea like flowers in summer give rise to  impressive long brown twisted seed pods in the autumn, and these have been used as cattle feed, since they are sweet.

  • Honeysuckle / Woodbine

    Lonicera periclymenum

    Honeysuckle is a vigorous medium sized climber. The flowers are up to 5cm long and fragrant, cream inside and purple / yellow on the outside. They flower from early summer through to early autumn and are followed by red berries. Bees love the flowers and birds eat the berries. It is one of the first plants to show leaf in spring, especially in the shelter of woodlands.

  • Ostrya carpinifolia

    Hop Hornbeam Seed

    Ostrya carpinifolia

    Hop Hornbeam is a medium sized round headed deciduous tree with toothed leaves that turn yellow in autumn. The catkins that appear in spring are impressively long and numerous. The following fruits are up to 5cm long with the nutlets being encased in a bladder-like husk. The hard and dense wood was used to make the wooden soles for wood-working planes, and for producing charcoal. Supposedly the tree is resistant to honey-fungus which is useful!

  • Hornbeam Seed

    Carpinus betulus

    Hornbeam grows to be a medium sized tree with a grey fluted trunk and toothed green leaves that are an outstanding yellow colour in the autumn. The green catkins in spring give rise to the small winged nuts in the autumn. Can be clipped with impunity and so is brilliant as a hedge where Beech is not suitable or would struggle.

  • Horse Chestnut Seed

    Aesculus hippocastanum

    Horse Chestnut is a beautiful, large, deciduous flowering tree. The white flowers with a yellow central blotch form stout pyramids which look highly attractive in their upright position. Insect friendly. The seeds or conkers as they are known are popular with children in Europe for games. They develop in spiky green cases that split open to reveal the beautiful, glossy chestnut brown seed.