A whitebeam in Bermondsey,
south London.

Trees of London


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              The whitebeam, like the cherry and the apple, is not common in central London but is very common in the suburbs because it is a relatively small tree and makes a good garden tree and is quite a popular tree for suburban roads where the residents get annoyed with the council if they plant large trees which obscure the sun from their front windows, and who fear that the roots are going to smash down the foundations of their houses.

        Because there are both Swedish whitebeams and the native common whitebeam present at Euston, an opportunity is presented to make a comparison. They both produce berries, and they both have the same basic shape; the difference comes in the leaves; those of the Swedish whitebeam are slightly lobed. Both have leaves that are slightly leathery on the top side and velvety on the bottom.

      The fruit of the whitebeam is particularly appealing to birds and once a flock, usually of migrating birds, have discovered the tree, the berries do not last long. However, they are not pleasant to humans.

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Other Trees at Euston

tree of heaven      horse chestnut      Turkey oak

ash      red oak      fig


Tree Identification

Sorbus aria:

alternate; oval shaped, pointed; rim is slightly toothed; Swedish whitebeam has slight lobes.

whitebeam leaf
whitebeam berries

nuts/fruit: berries which grow in clusters.

whitebeam flowers

small, white; in clusters.

whitebeam bark bark:
fairly smooth, grey.
grows to 15 metres; round crown.
general: lots of them around Euston, but generally a garden tree.

If you go up the path of the south-west entrance
to Euston Square and then at the turning
which goes towards the station between
two buildings, their are two common whitebeams
to the left.
If you don't make this turn and carry
on round you will see three trees before you get
to the road which the buses use.
The middle one of these is a Swedish white beam.
yellow: Swedish whitebeam.
green: common whitebeam.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©