First of all I must say Thank you to everyone for the good wishes for the new Grandchild. All being well we shall go down and visit in November.
The other day I took my camera for a walk so I could get a photo of this Spindle Tree.
Hardly noticable most of the year it suddenly glows pink in the sun when the four-lobed fruits appear. When the the lobes open they have small round orange seeds inside.
The Spindle or Euonynus europaens has a hard straight wood that was used for skewers and toothpicks (it was often called the Prickwood tree), viola bows, pegs, knitting needles as well as drop spindles for spinning wool from where it gets it's name - possibly originally from the Netherlands where it was known to be called Netherlande Spilboome in 1568.
All parts of the tree are a strong purgative and were probably used in folk medicine. The berries were baked and powdered and then rubbed into hair and onto animals to get rid of lice.
I can't remember seeing this tree as a child when we walked to school and on footpaths to the woods and first came across it when a new hedgerow was planted alongside a road near the smallholding.
The one I photographed is also in a mixed hedgerow beside a road and there are a few more much the same size, so I would guess these too were planted here about 25 years ago.
Because of it's Autumn display it is also often planted in parks and gardens as a decorative tree. It grows to about 20 foot tall and makes a large shrub rather than a traditional tree shape.
Of course it gets a mention in Cecily Mary Barker's Flower Fairy Books.