This is a hardy tree, for whom the sometimes disappointing weather of Otley is no problem at all – it flourishes in Arctic Norway. There are many different types of Rowan, one of which is the Mountain Ash, and several hybrids, such as Whitebeam. Watch out for birds such as Thrushes enjoying the berries at this time of year, and if we get a cold snap you might be lucky enough to see Waxwings, with their gorgeous plumage. Traditionally, people have used the berries in many different types of preserve and alcoholic drinks – there was a Welsh Rowan wine. The berries taste bitter, and need to be cooked or frozen to prevent indigestion or even kidney damage. Rowans crop up frequently in European mythology and folklore, largely as a protective entity – for example in Scotland there was a tradition of planting them near your gate or front door.
Photos by Pixabay and Neil Griffin