Wayfaring-tree

©Philip Precey

Wayfaring-tree

Scientific name: Viburnum lantana
The Wayfaring-tree is a small tree of hedgerows, woods, scrub and downland. It displays creamy-white flowers in spring and red berries in autumn, which ripen to black and are very poisonous.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 4-5m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Wayfaring-tree is a small tree of woodland edges, hedgerows, scrub and downland. The creamy flowers are out in May and June, and are followed by red berries that eventually ripen to black (although both colours can be seen on the tree). These berries are particularly attractive to birds and small mammals, which help to disperse the seeds.

How to identify

The Wayfaring-tree has broad, oval leaves with dense silky hairs underneath. It displays umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of creamy-white flowers in spring, and both red and black berries in autumn.

Distribution

Mainly found in South East England.

Did you know?

The berries of Wayfaring-trees are poisonous to humans and cause vomiting if eaten, but the creamy-white flowers have a lovely lily fragrance.

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.