Whitebeam gets its name from the brilliant white undersides of its deciduous foliage. This is a beautiful, but slow-growing, medium-sized tree that is really only common on chalk and limestone rocky areas in the wild. It has a symmetrical broad conical crown, becoming broader and more open in maturity. The young shoots are white-grey coloured and hairy, changing later first to olive green and then to olive-brown; they show distinctly raised lenticels.

In sunlight, the bark can appear to have a red tinge. Panicles of white flowers appear in May followed by deep red fruits speckled brown which are eaten by birds. This tree will tolerate urban sites that are only mildly acidic and the leaves will rot down well to give a good mulching material.

Britain has only a very small number of species which occur nowhere else in the world ('endemic species') and many of these are whitebeams.

May/June May Sept Sept