In the UK, Viscum album is normally referred to by its common name, Mistletoe. Mistletoe grows up in the branches of trees where it forms spherical ball-shaped plants comprised of many stems holding pairs of lovely fresh-green coloured, leathery leaves. This evergreen shrub produces tiny white flowers followed by shiny white berries. The oval leaves are borne in pairs and are very attractive and are naturally enhanced by the edition of gleaming Mistletoe berries, which appear in September and take many months to ripen.
Dipsacus fullonum is a biennial or perennial plant that’s found growing in the wild in a widespread area across Europe and even as far as regions approaching North West Africa. In the UK, Dipsacus fullonum is usually known as the Teasel, but due to how far reaching this plant’s range is – I am certain that there must be countless different common names for Dipsacus fullonum.
Cutting Celery is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. Cutting Celery is closely related to celery and celeriac, but these particular seeds have been selected and reselected especially for the flavour of their leaves. The leaves taste like celery – it’s a strong flavour – so a little goes a long way, but it’s not too overpowering. I really enjoy the taste of Cutting Celery leaves.
‘Parcel’ or ‘Par-Cel’ is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. This is a hardy biennial plant that produces edible leaves with a strong flavour of celery; Parcel’s stems are edible too, but it is the pungent leaves that this plant is usually grown for. The name of ‘Parcel’ was given because this edible plant has foliage that resembles parsley but when eaten it has the flavour of celery; so the plant’s common name is an amalgamation of the two names – ‘Parcel’.
Primula veris is also known as the Cowslip. Primula veris is very pretty perennial that holds a special place in many people’s hearts, reminding us of country walks and the beauty of nature. Primula veris is a commonly seen wildflower throughout Europe – being known and loved by so many – I am certain this lovely plant has many more common names.
Corylus avellana is a wonderful shrub or tree that in the UK is commonly known as hazel. I absolutely adore Corylus avellana, it’s one of my favourite plants; I’d encourage almost anyone to grow this fantastic shrub, tree, or hedge! A native tree of many countries in Europe, Corylus avellana is a superb plant for a wildlife garden or an edible garden.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ forms a tree with pendulous branches that stretch outwards and then hang rather decoratively. The boughs grow out from the top of the trunk, they become further outstretched as the tree matures, but even the branches of young plants reach all the way down to the the ground. Every branch is adorned with handsome leaves. Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’ is commonly known as the Weeping Beech.
Juniper is also known by its botanical name, Juniperus communis. Juniperus communis is an evergreen conifer with spiky needles. Plants are very hardy and they flourish in exposed and sheltered locations. These plants need a bright and sunny position; Juniperus communis is happy growing in almost any moist but well-drained soil, including stony ground and chalk. When choosing where to plant Juniperus communis, avoid shaded areas and soils that are prone to water-logging.
In the UK, Pinus sylvestris is often known as the Scot’s Pine. However, Pinus sylvestris trees’ native range is extensive, this tree’s majestic kingdom stretches across Northern Europe and further afield, so goodness only knows how many common names this handsome tree has attracted – thank goodness for botanical names, which remain the same – wherever in the world you are.
Fagus sylvatica is the botanical name for Beech trees. Beech are one of our UK native trees; they can be found across Europe. Fagus sylvatica forms majestic trees that can be used as hedging or as very handsome specimen trees. Although these trees are deciduous, trimmed Fagus sylvatica specimens will retain their leaves throughout the autumn and winter months. However, any hedges or trees that are left untrimmed will drop their leaves the same autumn.
In the UK, Sambucus nigra is known as Elder. These small trees and shrubs must have many common names, as they’re a wild plant that frequents many countries across Europe, as well as places as far afield as Western Asia and North Africa. Sambucus nigra is a deciduous plant with green pinnate foliage. In late spring and early summertime, Sambucus nigra produces huge flat circles of cream coloured, scented flowers that are popular with insects.
Yew is also known by its botanical name, Taxus baccata. This is a glorious evergreen that’s versatile and accommodating. Taxus baccata is happy to grow as a specimen tree or a hedge; plants are content to grow naturally as unpruned trees but are equally happy to be pruned and clipped into spheres, pyramids, corkscrew twists, hearts, or whichever shape your heart desires.
The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is one of our most recognisable UK native trees with its glorious silvery-white bark and dainty green leaves. We’re not the only ones to have an affinity with Betula pendula, this stunning tree is a native plant of many countries in Europe and Northern Asia. Betula pendula is a deciduous tree, its leaves turn from green to a buttery yellow before falling in autumn.
In the UK, Prunus spinosa is usually known by its common name – Blackthorn. I am sure that Prunus spinosa has many common names, as this is a widespread plant that can be found growing in the wild across Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Prunus spinosa can be grown as a shrub, a hedge, or a tree. These plants are very spiny and they often form thickets.
Myosotis scorpioides alba is also known as the Water Forget-Me-Not. This pretty plant requires continually wet conditions; Myosotis scorpioides alba grows in reliably wet bog gardens, as well as in streams, and ponds. If you have a patio garden and don’t have room for a pond you can still grow Myosotis scorpioides alba by creating a container pond or bog garden .
Ranunculus flammula is an aquatic plant with beautiful shining-yellow, bowl-shaped flowers. This plant’s common name is Lesser Spearwort, but it’s very much like a lovely buttercup to grow in a pond! Ranunculus flammula can be grown in streams, ponds, lakes, or continually wet bog gardens; if you don’t have a pond, you could grow Ranunculus flammula in a container filled with rainwater.
Alliaria petiolata is a commonly found wildflower in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. Whenever its foliage is bruised, crushed, or trampled, this plant’s leaves release a scent that’s reminiscent of garlic; as a consequence, in the UK, Alliaria petiolata is often called Garlic Mustard, or Hedge Garlic. Another common name for Alliaria petiolata is Jack-by-the hedge, which reflects one of this plant’s habitats and Alliaria petiolata’s prominence as a plant that lines our hedgerows.
Primula vulgaris are low growing, perennials that form basal rosette shaped plants, made up of beautifully textured, wrinkled, obovate leaves. These small plants are generally known as primroses. Primula vulgaris are popular wild flowers; they’re often found growing in gardens, the countryside, and in urban areas across Europe. Primroses are hardy; plants will happily survive temperatures down as low as -20C (-4F), and probably lower.
Alpine strawberries or wild strawberries (also known by their botanical name Fragaria vesca) are small, low growing, plants that trail along the ground, spreading via runners; these pretty little plants can grow up to around 15cm (6 inches) tall. I adore alpine strawberries! These dainty little plants are utterly charming, with attractive leaves, delightful white flowers, and the delicious red strawberries they produce.
Swiss Chard (also known by the botanical name Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens) is a magnificent vegetable that brings a touch of its own exquisite beauty to the gardens and allotments where it’s grown. This is another vegetable with an array of common names, it’s also called: Leaf Beet, Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. For ease of reference, I try my best to stick to calling this vegetable Swiss Chard; although I do also call it Chard from time to time – sorry about that.