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Species Notebook:

  • Guelder-rose

    Guelder-rose: eat with care

    Post date: Wednesday, 15 October, 2014 - 00:00

    One of my favourite hedgerow shrubs, the Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus), is not a species that I seem to encounter much in my part of Dorset. It grows best on alkaline soils and much of Dorset where I live is acidic. It is planted as a hedgerow shrub and so it can occur just about anywhere.

    The flowers form upright flat disks but when the berries form they droop over to become beautiful clusters of dangling red berries. Each berry has one seed and birds disperse the seeds by devouring the berry and then ejecting the seed some distance from the host plant.

    Yoiu can eat the fruit in small quantities and it can be used to make a jelly but it has a bitter, acidic taste. The berries are very midly toxic and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if eaten in large amounts so spread it thinly on your toast!


     

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