Native trees are those that naturally started colonising the land that became the UK following the last ice age. They adapted to our climate, so they benefit from being quick to establish and often do well in difficult positions. British Native trees are crucial to the survival of many species of insects, birds and other animals in the UK. As well as practical reasons for choosing them, they are also extremely beautiful.
The following trees are among those native to the UK: English Oak, Silver Birch, Common Holly, Small-Leaved Lime, Field Maple, Common Hornbeam, Common Beech, Mountain Ash, Common Hawthorn, White Willow, Spindle, Black Poplar, Scots Pine, European Crab Apple, Wild Cherry, Hazel and Common Alder.
Some of our favourite trees are those which are native to the UK. Whilst these trees are great choices when your garden is surrounded by the British countryside and you want your garden to blend in, many of them also have very good ornamental properties in their own right. Cultivars of native trees are also worth considering, with Birch, Rowan and Crab Apple being popular.
Silver Birch is arguably the most popular native tree, being favoured for its wonderful silvery fissured bark. Both Common Hawthorn and Snowy Mespilus are chosen for their beautiful white blooms. Common Holly and Mountain Ash are popular for their foliage and berries. Common Holly, Holm Oak and Scots Pine are all good evergreen options.
Because they have been around so long, many have rich, interesting histories often told through mythology, literature and religion. This makes them a great talking point at garden parties!
Trees that colonised the UK after it had become disconnected from mainland Europe are technically referred to as naturalised, rather than native. They are still of great benefit to the environment.
Naturalised trees include Sycamore, Snowy Mespilus, Common Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, Cherry Plum, European Larch, Holm Oak and Laburnum alpinum. Below, you will find these listed after the native varieties.