leaves are opposite,
round, 5-10 cm long, with finely-toothed margins. They are rough and
slightly hairy above, but densely white-hairy beneath. The hairy leaf-stalks
are 10-30 mm long.
is a deciduous
shrub, branching from the base, which grows 2-6 m tall and is found
on woodland margins and in hedgerows on dry, lime-rich soils.
creamy-white, 5-petalled flowers are 5-6 mm across. They are arranged
in dense, branched, flat-topped clusters at the end of stems and appear
Unlike the closely
related Guelder-rose, the
flowers are all the same size and all are fertile.
The round, flat
fruits, 8 mm long, are red at first, but become black when ripe in
The fruits are
eaten by birds in winter, despite their taste being so unpleasant
The nectar at
the bottom of the flower tubes attracts pollinating hover-flies.
a name given by 16th century botanist, John Gerard, to a shrub so
common along the lanes of Southern England.