(top surface - note opposite
leaves are opposite,
longly-elliptical, 3-10cm long, and hairless. They end in an acute point
and have small teeth on their margins: the stalk is short, 6-12mm.
Spindle is a much-branched
usually up to 6m but occasionally as high as 8m, with branches 4-angled
when young: older branches are grey to reddish-brown and often corky.
Spindle grows on woodland margins, in shrub and hedgerows mostly on
The greenish flowers,
about 1cm across, have 4 petals alternating with 4 shorter, joined
sepals. The flowers are arranged in clusters of 3-10, each on a short
stalk: they appear in May and June.
The 4-lobed fruits
turn deep-pink in autumn and later open to expose four bright orange
The leaves turn
dark-red in autumn and spindles are often planted in parks for their
The white or
pale-yellow wood was formerly used for making spindles, knitting
needles and skewers.
are rich in nectar which attracts small pollinating insects.
Spindle is the
only wild tree or shrub in Northern Europe which has a rubber-like
substance, gutta percha, in its bark.