Identification & Description:
A decidious shrub growing to 3m by 2m at a medium rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife. We rate it 2 out of 5 for usefulness.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Habitats and Possible Locations
Hedge, Woodland, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge, Deep Shade.
Fruit – raw or cooked. An insipid flavour, it is best if cooked. The fruit is rather boring. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter. See the notes at top of page regarding possible toxicity.
Flower: Small, pinkish, bell-shaped, clustered
Fruit: White, waxy berry
Blooms: June to July
Leaves: Elliptical, oval or nearly round; green above, paler below, generally fine hairs on both surface of leaf
Height: A low shrub usually not more than 18 inches high
Stem: Slender, trailing or creeping younger twigs usually with fine hairs
Found: Dry to moist habitats that receive considerable sun
Tidbits: An important food for animals. Many birds feed on the fruits.
Broom; Cosmetic; Hair; Hedge; Soap; Soil stabilization.
Plants have extensive root systems and are used to stabilize soils on banks and slopes.
The branches can be tied together and used as a broom.
The berries contain saponins and have been used as a hair wash.
A mild decoction of the wood has been used as a cleansing wash for babies.
The crushed berries have been rubbed into the armpits as an antiperspirant.
Very tolerant of trimming, it can be grown as a medium to tall hedge. Its main drawback as a hedge is its propensity to sucker.