The red-berried rowan tree is found in many Scottish gardens, sometimes planted for luck. An old superstition holds that the tree protects against evil spirits.The ancient Druids are said to have used Rowan branches as staffs. Some yew shrubs in Scotland are older than some castles. These are just two on the long list of Scottish trees and shrubs, some of which are native and others common. From the borders to the highlands, trees and shrubs are valued in Scotland, and some are associated with Scots history, Celtic ritual or Caledonian pride.
Some trees and shrubs in Scotland are famous. They are considered heritage trees and are protected. On the Isle of Arran are two tree species that grow nowhere else on Earth. They are the Arran whitebeam and the Arran cut-leaved whitebeam, the rarest native trees in the country. The World Wildlife Federation considers them dangerously threatened with extinction. Another on the heritage list is the Fortingall Yew. This shrub may be as old as 5,000 years and is arguably the oldest living thing in Europe.
Alder, a kind of birch, is found throughout Scotland. It is found less often in the northwest and in the Outer Hebrides because of deforestation. This trees grows near streams and rivers, thriving in wet ground. The aspens are most common in the Hebrides and Shetland and in the north and west of Scotland. They like rocky soil, sometimes growing on the sides of hills or on cliffs. Bird cherry is found widely in Scotland, especially in the springtime when it flowers impressively.
The iconic Scottish tree, the Scots pine once covered the ancient Caledonian forest. It is Europe's only natural pine and can live as long as 700 years. Holly grows in most parts of Scotland. It is an understory tree. The broadleaved evergreen grows between larger trees in most wooded areas of the country. Juniper as a shrub or tree is found in most of the country. It is common in the Highlands, where it is often found in the drier eastern areas.
Hazel is an understory tree that makes a suitable shrub. It is important to the ecosystem of the Caldonian forest, providing habitat for a rare lichen community. Hazel is everywhere in Scotland. The woody shrub called eared willow is a large shrub. It is one of the few shrubs to grow in the northern part of the Shetlands.