A handsome trio of Rowan-whitebeam cross (Sorbus x thuringiaca) trees near the summit of Primrose Hill.
Here, just to the north of the summit of Primrose Hill, a handsome trio stands about twelve metres tall. Clusters of white flowers in spring are followed by bright red berries around September, while the gentle grey-green foliage can turn a magnificent orange in autumn.
The parents of this hybrid are the pretty European rowan, for centuries associated with magic and folklore and the resilient common whitebeam, a favourite boundary tree with a distinctive and attractive appearance. Sorbus x thuringiaca combines the virtues of both. It’s a wonderful urban tree - tough, resistant to pollution and happy in confined spaces - and the berries are popular with birds, squirrels and hedgehogs.
At 78 metres, Primrose Hill offers a clear view of central London to the south east and Hampstead to the north. Like Regent’s Park itself, it was part of the land appropriated by Henry VIII from Barking Abbey. The surrounding area has long been a fashionable and desirable place to live - although the darker side of its history includes the mysterious murder of magistrate Edmund Berry Godfrey in 1678, which caused anti-Catholic uproar throughout England. An act of Parliament in 1842 secured Primrose Hill as public open space, and it remains a favourite green space for many Londoners and visitors to the city.