Spindle took its name because it was used to make ‘spindles’ for spinning and holding wool, whereas today the wood is used to make high-quality artist charcoal. Although its leaves and fruit are toxic for humans, they are a huge benefit for wildlife.
Estimate full grown height: 8-9 metres, growing an estimated 40cm each year.
Purchase size and growth: These trees are cell-grown saplings, ranging from approximately 15cm-60cm in height. Cell grown trees can be planted all year round in most situations as long as they are given the correct care. Please be aware that depending upon the time of year you receive your sapling (particularly early spring) it may not look very perky upon arrival, but please do not worry, as once it has been planted it should pick up quickly.
Value to wildlife: Spindel leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of a number of moths, including the magpie, spindle ermine, scorched carpet and a variety of micro moths, as well as the holly blue butterfly. The leaves also attract aphids and their predators, including hoverflies, ladybirds and lacewings, as well as the house sparrow and other birds. The flowers are a rich source of nectar and pollen for insects, particularly the St Mark’s fly.
Preferred soil type or environmental conditions: Spindle is often found in hedges or on the edge of woodland. It grows best in chalky soils and is less common in Scotland.
UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown (UKISG): Every sapling that we provide is UK and Ireland sourced and grown to minimise the risk of importing and spreading tree pests and diseases. Seeds are collected and stored in the UK and Ireland, and they are all coded and batched so that we can track each individual tree.
Learn more about this tree on our spindle species profile.