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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 normal 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, some of its white flowers appearing in the first week of June or even at the end of May, but most in the second week (not till the second half in 2015 and the end of the month in 2013): once out, they 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.

From mid month onwards you also see the big white trumpets or large or hedge bindweed (the two species are hard to tell apart) sprawling across hedgerows and other scrub, and towards the end of the month you get the showy pink broad-leaved everlasting pea, usually in the vicinity of gardens. 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.

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, sometimes more in the first half of the month and sometimes in the second. In addition tutsan, a garden escapee, flowers in mid to late June, its yellow and then red berries seeming to appear almost simultaneously.

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, sometimes earlier in the month but more usually towards its end.

Tree seeds and nuts

At start of the month the female catkins of white or crack willow (the two often hybridise) are still dispersing their fluffy seeds and the air is full of them floating around. This can carry on till mid month or even a bit later. The catkins then fall to the ground, but some brown ones may remain on the tree.

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 rain, or because the tree regards them as surplus to requirements. 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. There are green seed balls on London plane, though the tree may still have brown ones from the previous year. Acorns on oak trees start to grow - by mid month they are pea-sized.

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. Many soon fall off, but the survivors get bigger and later in the month hang below the branches instead of sitting above them. Since 2006 the trees have also started to develop a leaf blight in the second half of June, caused by a leaf mining moth, though in 2019 many were only mildly affected. 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 just still be in bloom at the start of the month, and from quite early in June long tassels appear on sweet chestnut, though do not actually flower till late in the month or early July, 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 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 and crab apples. 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 (and sometimes also white bryony) towards the end of the month. Rowan berries turn from green in the first part of the month to brown, occasionally even orange-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. The strange green clusters of berries you see on stalks on shady verges and in woodland belong to cuckoo pint.

More June pages:


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