Nature Menu

Introduction Beginner's Guide Where to find wild flowers Where to find butterflies Books and online tools Week by Week Nature Blog SWC_Nature

Nature and Weather in South East England

June hedgerow, trees and berries

Other June pages: Meadow and field flowersWayside flowersDownland and seaside flowersBirds Butterflies and insectsWeather

Put your cursor over any photo to see its caption, or click here to see more June hedgerow, tree and berry photos.

June is a great month for hedgerow flowers, in particular wild roses (such as the pink flowered dog rose and the white burnet rose) which appear at the beginning of the month (not till the fourth week in 2013) and last till the third or fourth week. Cultivated rose gardens (for example in Hyde Park, Regents Park or at Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire) are also at their best in early June.

Another kind of rose, bramble, flowers right from the start of June (though not till the end of June in the late springs of 2006, 2010 and 2013), the amount of flowers increasing as the month goes on. In a normal year most are over by the end of the month and you start to see green unripe blackberries, but some flowers also continue into July. It is not unusual to see both berries and flowers on the same bush.

Elderflowers also continue to offer splash of white across hedgerows and field margins for the first three weeks or so of June (starting and ending a week later in 2006, 2010, and 2015 but a week earlier in 2008 and 2011: lasting all month in 2012 and 2013). Elder tends to flower in phases, with some flower heads out and others going over.

Other hedgerow shrubs in bloom in June include guelder rose, which can be seen right from the start of the month, having usually started in late May. It has very strange flowers with large petals on the outside and small ones in the middle, making it look as if it is only half out. Dogwood follows in the second week (not till the second half in 2015 and the end of the month in 2013) with white flowers which last about a fortnight. Then from mid month privet - both the garden hedge variety (if not trimmed back too much) and the wild version, which has narrower leaves - produces white flowerheads with an intense sweet aroma.

A very characteristic flower of June is honeysuckle which appears early in the month (not until the second half in 2015 and the end of the month in 2010 and 2013) and goes on to last, in places, for all of the summer. Other hedgerow climbers in bloom include white bryony, whose pale, almost green flowers can be seen throughout the month, and black bryony, which has similar but much smaller flowers, along with distinctive heart-shaped leaves, and tends to be over by the end of the first week or so. It can already be producing green berries by mid June, which is also true of woody nightshade (also known as bittersweet). Its inverted purple flowers appear early in the month and are joined by green berries in the second half: ie you often see both on the same plant. Not yet in bloom is wild clematis - traveller's joy - but the buds on the tendrils of this hedgerow climber are very noticeable in June on chalky soils.

The large-leaved bush that you see is burdock which can be flowering in its inconspicuous way (the flowers look like thistles half out) at the very end of the month. This plant is better known for producing burrs that stick to your clothing in the autumn. Also at the end of June buddleia can start to flower on urban wasteground and alongside railway tracks.

On suburban wasteground, as well as in gardens and parks, three shrubs bloom at this time of year whose berries are conspicuous in midwinter. Snowberry has tiny pink flowers, which will later turn into the white-globed fruits which remain on its bare branches in winter, while firethorn (aka pyracantha), whose orange or red berries are an important food for birds in January and February, briefly explodes into a mass of white flowers early in the month, if it has not done so in late May. Cotoneaster, which sports bright red berries in winter, also produces its off-white flowers in the first three weeks or so of the month. In addition tutsan, a garden escapee which produces attractive red and then black berries later in the summer, flowers mid month

Rhododendron's bright pink flowers can also still be seen in the first half of June and at the same time you may see the striking white flower spikes of the semi-wild portugal laurel. Some laburnum flowers can survive into early June in parks and gardens (and sometimes semi-wild situations) and in the same habitats Russian vine starts to flower in white cascades towards the end of the month.

Tree seeds and nuts

At start of the month the female catkins of white or crack willow (the two often hybridise) may still be dispersing their fluffy seeds: the catkins themselves then fall to the ground, but some brown ones may remain on the tree after seeding is over. On many other trees - for example ash, hornbeam, sycamore, Norway maple and field maple - the seeds are fully formed. Mostly these remain on the tree but ash, sycamore and field maple can sometimes shed a few, whether due to the intervention of squirrels, the wind or other natural forces. Sycamore and field maple seeds sometimes take on a reddish tinge.

Beech also has fully formed nut cases, still green at this stage, and alder sports new green cones but still keeps some from last season. Birch has a cylindrical green fruit which looks like a fat catkin bud. The new green seed balls on London plane are still quite small but grow larger during the month, and the tree also retains some old brown ones from the previous year. It is not till the end of the month that oak trees have tiny nodules that will grow into acorns.

The May spikes of flowers on horse chestnuts have given way to tiny green conkers, which at first sit erect on the remains of the flower spikes: as the month goes on and they get bigger, some fall off, and the rest start to hang below the branches instead of sitting above them. Sadly in the second half of June the trees also start to develop the leaf blight caused that has so affected them in recent years, caused by a leaf mining moth. In June 2012 many sycamores on the south coast also developed wilted leaves but this has not so far happened again.

Early in the month hazel has new nut buds. By the end of the month the nuts can be fully formed though still unripe, but on some trees this does not happen till July. New larch cones are now full-sized and brown and only distinguishable from last year's (which remain on the tree) due to their smooth exterior.

By contrast, some trees are still flowering. Whitebeam may still be in bloom at the start of the month, and from quite early in June long tassels appear on sweet chestnut, though they do not actually flower till late in the month, when they produce a sickly sweet scent. Lime flowers also have a sweet aroma when they appear in the last third of the month, though less strong than that of sweet chestnut. These two trees are the last to flower in the south east, the end of a sequence that started with hazel catkins in January or February.

Berries and fruit

Look closely and you can see that berries and fruit are starting to appear, most notably on wild cherry trees, which can have ripe red fruit as early as the third week of June (the first week in 2011, second week in 2012). They are often rather small compared to commercial cherries and many are instantly eaten by birds. Some trees do not produce them at all.

Close inspection shows many other unripe fruits on trees and shrubs: for example green haws on hawthorn (some of which may turn reddish in June, but this is not generally supposed to happen until late July), green sloes on blackthorn bushes (which slowly grow to full size during the month), and unripe plums, cherry plums, apples, crab apples and pears. Dogwood, elder and firethorn also develop tiny green berries almost as soon as they finish flowering, and you can see green berries on whitebeam, wayfaring tree, guelder rose, cherry laurel, spindle and holly - plus, as mentioned above, on the climbers woody nightshade and black bryony towards the end of the month. Rowan berries turn from green in the first part of the month to brown at its end.

Late in the month you can occasionally also find ripe raspberries growing in the wild: sometimes also tiny wild strawberries. Seed pods are very evident on gorse.

More June pages:

© Peter Conway 2006-2018  • All Rights Reserved

No comments:

Post a Comment