Native Trees

Scores of different tree species may be found in British woodlands today, but amongst them only 35, including both the sessile and pedunculate oaks, are true native species; i.e species that spread into this country without the assistance of man. This was possible at the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago as at that time Britain still formed part of the European land mass.

To begin with only the hardiest of plants such as mosses and bilberry bushes could survive, but as the climate gradually warmed trees such as hazel, Scots pine, birch, elm established themselves, followed later by the oaks.

Britain separated from the rest of Europe some 7,000 years ago when melting glaciers caused the sea level to rise, flooding what is now the North Sea and English Channel. This barrier of water prevented further natural invasion by non-waterborne plants such as trees, so the species that had established themselves in Britain by that time are our 35 native species.


  • Aspen Populus tremula
  • Bay willow Salix pentandra
  • Bird cherry Prunus padus
  • Black poplar Populus nigra
  • Box Buxus sempervirens
  • Common alder Alnus glutinosa
  • Common ash Fraxinus excelsior 
  • Common beech Fraxinus sylvatica 
  • Common pear Pyrus communis
  • Common yew Taxus baccata
  • Crab apple Malus sylvestris
  • Crack willow Salix fragilis
  • Downy birch Betula pubescens
  • Field maple Acer campestri
  • Goat willow Salix caprea
  • Grey poplar Populus canescens
  • Grey willow Salix cinerea
  • Hawthorn Cretaegus monogyna
  • Hazel Corylus avellana
  • Holly Ilex aquifolium
  • Hornbeam Carpinus betulus
  • Juniper Juniperis communis
  • Midland hawthorn Craetagus laevigata
  • Pedunculate oak Quercus robur
  • Rowan Sorbus aucuparia
  • Scots pine Pinus sylvestris
  • Sessile oak Quercus petraea
  • Silver birch Betula pendula
  • Small-leaved lime Tilia cordata
  • Strawberry tree Arbutus unedo
  • Whitebeam Sorbus aria
  • White willow Salix alba
  • Wild cherry Prunus avium
  • Wild service tree Sorbus torminalis
  • Wych elm Ulmus glabra

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