Austen’s Trees and Shrubs A-K

Trees and Shrubs Mentioned in Jane Austen’s Novels, Letters, and Minor Works with Historical Background, A-K

Most of Austen’s heroines enjoy being outside and “look[ing] upon verdure” (MP 96). However, Austen does not often name specific trees, rather naming groups of trees such as woods, groves, plantations, shrubbery, gardens, wildernesses, copses, and trees.  When trees are named in the novels, it is often for a specific reason, such as a tree that provides good shade (limes), or a tree that grows quite tall (elms).  Sometimes the names of trees that Austen uses are different from the names we use, as botanical knowledge has evolved.  There are also many references to trees and shrubs in her letters, often about trees growing around her home at the time.  From her letters, we know that trees were meaningful to and loved by Austen. 

Readers in Austen’s times would have known what a shrubbery or wilderness garden looks like, although many modern readers do not.  Wilderness gardens were constructed at an earlier period than when Austen was writing (Wilson; Clark) and were large tracts of land planted with a variety of trees with both straight avenues and winding paths. Mr. Rushworth’s estate, Sotherton, in Mansfield Park, has a large wilderness garden and is described as being from the Elizabethan era (Clark).  Shrubbery tended to be closer to the house and had both flowering shrubs, trees, and flowers, along with places to sit and gravel walks.  Sometimes shrubbery was closed (had shrubs and trees on both sides of gravel) and sometimes it was open with shrubs and trees on one side and then open grass with occasional trees on the other side to allow views around the estate (Clark; Wilson).  Shrubbery is mentioned in all of the six novels.  Finally, most houses would also have kitchen gardens for fruits, vegetables, and herbs.  In Jane Austen’s home at Chawton near her brother’s estate, she, her mother, and sister had a cottage garden with trees; flowering shrubs; fruit trees, shrubs, and plants; vegetables; flowers; and herbs (see Wilson for pictures of the current Chawton cottage garden and a plan for creating your own cottage garden).  

This page was designed to focus on Jane Austen’s trees and shrubs, including fruit trees and shrubs.  To get a better understanding of the historical usage of tree names, I consulted British books from the 1600s and 1700s about trees and gardening:  John Evelyn’s Sylva from 1662, which was reprinted many times (I used the fourth edition of 1678) and was a founding text for British botany; Philip Miller’s The Gardeners Dictionary (especially 1735, 1754, and 1768 editions); and Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie’s The Universal Gardener and Botanist of 1778 (1).  Evelyn’s Sylva and Mawe and Abercrombie’s Universal Gardener were both found in the library of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight at Godmersham Park based on the catalogue of 1818, as well as related books by Philip Miller (https://www.readingwithausten.com/catalogue.html).  Another useful resource was the website of The Woodland Trust, UK, which has an extensive list of native and non-native British trees that can be found in the woodlands in Great Britain.  In addition to information about the native and non-native trees, there are pictures of the trees in different seasons and close-up shots of different parts of the trees. 

Most of the pictures on this page were taken by Michele Larrow at the University of Idaho Arboretum in Moscow, ID unless otherwise noted.  Special thanks to Paul Warnick, Horticulturist at U. of Idaho, who helped me to locate many of the tree and shrub specimens at the arboretum. For a list of the trees and shrubs mentioned here with the map grid where they can be found at the arboretum, click on the download below (treeshrubsja). Also, a map for the U. of Idaho arboretum can be found at https://www.uidaho.edu/infrastructure/facilities/arboretum/tour-maps

References:

Austen, Jane. The Novels of Jane Austen. Ed. R. W. Chapman, 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1933-1969.

____.  Jane Austen’s Letters. Ed. Deirdre Le Fay. 3rd ed. Oxford: OUP, 1995.

____. Juvenilia.  Ed. Peter Sabor.  Cambridge: CUP, 2006.

Clark, Robert. “Wilderness and Shrubbery in Austen’s Works.” Persuasions On-line, 36.1 (2015).  http://jasna.org/publications/persuasions-online/vol36no1/clark/.

Evelyn, John. Sylva.  4th ed. London: Doubleday, 1678.  https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20778

Johnson, Samuel. “Acacia.” A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 31, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/acacia/.

Le Faye, Deirdre.  Jane Austen’s Country Life. London: Frances Lincoln, 2014.

Mawe, Thomas, and Abercrombie, John.  The Universal Gardener and Botanist London, 1778. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Universal_Gardener_and_Botanist.html?id=qClAAAAAcAAJ

Miller, Philip.  The Gardeners Dictionary, 8th ed. London, 1768.   https://books.google.com/books?id=ko9cAAAAcAAJ

Wilson, Kim.  In the Garden with Jane Austen. London: Frances Lincoln, 2008.

Woodland Trust, UK https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/

(1) Robert Clark was helpful in directing me to John Evelyn’s Sylva and gave suggestions for what modern tree names Austen might be referring to with “acacia,” “spruce firs,” and “Scotch firs”.  I then researched the terms in the historical texts.

Acacia, Black Locust   Robinia pseudoacacia

Acacia are mentioned in Sense and Sensibility as surrounding Cleveland, the Palmer estate.  Reference material from the 1700s suggest that acacia which were common in England were the non-native Robinia pseudoacacia (Miller 1768, “Robinia pseudoacacia”; Johnson “Acacia”), which today in the United States would be called a Black Locust or what is also called False Acacia.  Acacia are also mentioned in an 1800 letter.

“It had no park, but the pleasure-grounds were tolerably extensive; and like every other place of the same degree of importance, it had its open shrubbery, and closer wood walk, a road of smooth gravel winding round a plantation, led to the front, the lawn was dotted over with timber, the house itself was under the guardianship of the fir, the mountain-ash, and the acacia, and a thick screen of them altogether, interspersed with tall Lombardy poplars, shut out the offices.” (Sense and Sensibility 302)

“Hacker has been here to-day putting in the fruit trees. A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure of the right-hand side of the elm walk: the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it by planting apples, pears, and cherries, or whether it should be larch, mountain ash, and acacia. What is your opinion? I say nothing, and am ready to agree with anybody.”  (Letters 20-21 November 1800, from Steventon)

Apple Malus X domestica

Apple trees are not native to England (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/apple/) but were very common as the fruit is so popular. The trees are mentioned in Emma, when Miss Bates discusses the winter gift of apples from Mr. Knightley.  Le Faye explains that keeping apples are those that are picked late-season and develop full flavor off the tree, suggesting that the varieties might be Lemon Pippins, Harveys, Catsheads, or Warner’s Kings (211).   Other times apple trees are named are in Northanger Abbey, when Catherine visits Henry’s parsonage at Woodston; and in Persuasion, when Mr. Shepard talks about Captain Wentworth’s brother the curate.  Additionally, Austen mentions the possibility of planting apples in an orchard in a letter of 1800:

“The apples themselves are the very finest sort for baking, beyond a doubt; all from Donwell—some of Mr. Knightley’s most liberal supply. He sends us a sack every year; and certainly there never was such a keeping apple anywhere as one of his trees—I believe there is two of them. My mother says the orchard was always famous in her younger days.”  (Emma 238)

“Well, if it was my house, I would never sit any where else.  Oh! what a sweet little cottage there is among the trees—apple trees too! It is the prettiest cottage!” (Northanger Abbey 214)

“’Bless me! how very odd!  I shall forget my own name soon, I suppose.  A name that I am so very well acquainted with; knew the gentleman so well by sight; seen him a hundred times; came to consult me once, I remember, about a trespass of one of his neighbours; farmer’s man breaking into his orchard; wall torn down; apples stolen; caught in the fact; and afterwards, contrary to my judgement, submitted to an amicable compromise.  Very odd indeed!’”  (Persuasion 23)

“Hacker has been here to-day putting in the fruit trees. A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure of the right-hand side of the elm walk: the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it by planting apples, pears, and cherries, or whether it should be larch, mountain ash, and acacia. What is your opinion? I say nothing, and am ready to agree with anybody.”  (Letters 20-21 November 1800, from Steventon)

Apricot, Moorpark      Prunus armeniaca

Apricot trees are mentioned in Mansfield Park, in a heated discussion between Mrs. Norris and Dr. Grant about the flavor of the fruit. Le Faye notes that “a true Moor Park apricot bears a large bright golden fruit, smooth-skinned and of excellent flavour” (209). Apricots are also mentioned in one of Austen’s letters from Chawton:

“Sir, it is a Moor Park, we bought it as a Moor Park, and it cost us–that is, it was a present from Sir Thomas, but I saw the bill–and I know it cost seven shillings, and was charged as a Moor Park.”

“You were imposed on, ma’am,” replied Dr. Grant: “these potatoes have as much the flavour of a Moor Park apricot as the fruit from that tree. It is an insipid fruit at the best; but a good apricot is eatable, which none from my garden are.” (Mansfield Park 54)

“The row of Beech look very well indeed, & so does the young Quickset hedge in the Garden.—I hear today that an Apricot has been detected on one of the Trees.”   (Letters 31 May 1811, from Chawton)

Ash   Fraxinus excelsior

Ash is native to England (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/ash/). Mawe and Abercrombie note that it is typically used for ornamental plantings (“FRAXINUS”). Ash is mentioned in an early Austen letter from the rectory at Steventon:

“Our improvements have advanced very well; the bank along the elm wall is sloped down for the reception of thorns and lilacs, and it is settled that the other side of the path is to continue turfed, and to be planted with beech, ash, and larch.” (Letters 25-27 October 1800, from Steventon)

Ash, Mountain (aka Rowan in UK)       Sorbus aucuparia

Mountain ash is native to England, where it is also called rowan (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/rowan/). Mountain ash are trees that do well as ornamental trees and in “eminent plantations” (Mawe and Abercrombie “SORBUS”). Mountain ash is one of the trees mentioned in Sense and Sensibility as surrounding Cleveland, the Palmer estate and is mentioned in one of Austen’s letters from Steventon:

“It had no park, but the pleasure-grounds were tolerably extensive; and like every other place of the same degree of importance, it had its open shrubbery, and closer wood walk, a road of smooth gravel winding round a plantation, led to the front, the lawn was dotted over with timber, the house itself was under the guardianship of the fir, the mountain-ash, and the acacia, and a thick screen of them altogether, interspersed with tall Lombardy poplars, shut out the offices.”  (Sense and Sensibility 302)

“Hacker has been here to-day putting in the fruit trees. A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure of the right-hand side of the elm walk: the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it by planting apples, pears, and cherries, or whether it should be larch, mountain ash, and acacia. What is your opinion? I say nothing, and am ready to agree with anybody.”  (Letters 20-21 November 1800, from Steventon)

Beech, common Fagus sylvatica

Beech are native to the United Kingdom (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/common-beech/). Beech are mentioned in Mansfield Park in the scene at Sotherton. For some pictures of what “beech cut down” would look like, look at the pictures of St. Paul’s Walden Bury in Robert Clark’s article http://jasna.org/publications/persuasions-online/vol36no1/clark/. Mawe and Abercrombie (“FAGUS”) note that beech can be grown for timber as large trees and that dwarf varieties can be trimmed for hedges and was formerly used in very straight rows of hedges around the pleasure grounds (see Clark for when this garden style stopped). Beech are also mentioned in Austen’s letters from both Steventon and Chawton:

“A considerable flight of steps landed them in the wilderness, which was a planted wood of about two acres, and though chiefly of larch and laurel, and beech cut down, and though laid out with too much regularity, was darkness and shade, and natural beauty, compared with the bowling-green and the terrace.” (Mansfield Park 91)

“Our improvements have advanced very well; the bank along the elm wall is sloped down for the reception of thorns and lilacs, and it is settled that the other side of the path is to continue turfed, and to be planted with beech, ash, and larch.”  (Letters 25-27 October 1800, from Steventon)

“The row of Beech look very well indeed, & so does the young Quickset hedge in the Garden.—I hear today that an Apricot has been detected on one of the Trees.”  (Letters 31 May 1811, from Chawton)

Box, Common    Buxux semperviens

According to the Woodland Trust, Box Hill is named after the common box tree that are abundant on its slopes https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/wood/26535/box-hill/. Box are native to England (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/box/). Dwarf box were often used to border flower beds and the common box was more often used for shrubberies in Austen’s time (Mawe and Abercrombie “BUXUX”). When Emma and company visit Box Hill in Emma, they would have certainly seen common box trees:

“They had a very fine day for Box Hill; and all the other outward circumstances of arrangement, accommodation, and punctuality, were in favour of a pleasant party.”  (Emma 367)

Cherries, Wild or Sweet      Prunus avium

Wild cherry trees are native to England (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/wild-cherry/). Mawe and Abercrombie note that they grow wild in “woods and hedges”, but also may be cultivated in gardens for both the fruit and the wood (“PRUNUS Avium“). Cherry trees are mentioned in one of Jane’s early letters and also becomes the preferred fruit for Mrs. Elton after too much stooping for strawberries in Emma:

“Hacker has been here to-day putting in the fruit trees. A new plan has been suggested concerning the plantation of the new inclosure of the right-hand side of the elm walk: the doubt is whether it would be better to make a little orchard of it by planting apples, pears, and cherries, or whether it should be larch, mountain ash, and acacia. What is your opinion? I say nothing, and am ready to agree with anybody.”  (Letters 62 Thursday 20 November- Friday 21 November 1800 from Steventon)

“…Maple Grove—cultivation—beds when to be renewed—gardeners thinking exactly different—no general rule—gardeners never to be put out of their way—delicious fruit—only too rich to be eaten much of—inferior to cherries—currants more refreshing—only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping—glaring sun—tired to death—could bear it no longer—must go and sit in the shade.”  (Emma 359)

Chestnut, Horse Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse Chestnuts are not native to the United Kingdom, but were brought in the 1600s (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/horse-chestnut/). Mawe and Abercrombie write that they are primarily grown for ornamental purposes as the timber is of “no value”, but that they are not good for avenues due to the regularity of their shape (“AESCULUS Hippo-castanum“). They are mentioned several times in Austen’s letters.  Her 1808 letter mentions horse chestnuts at Steventon, so one assumes the chestnuts referred to in the 1800 letter are horse chestnuts:

“We have had a dreadful storm of wind in the fore part of this day, which has done a great deal of mischief among our trees.–I was sitting alone in the dining-room  when an odd kind of crash startled me– in a moment afterwards it was repeated; I then went to the window, which I reached just in time to see the last of our two highly-valued Elms descend into the Sweep!!!! The other, which had fallen, I suppose, in the first crash, & which was the nearest to the pond, taking a more easterly direction, sank amongst our screen of Chestnuts and firs, knocking down one spruce fir, beating off the head of another, & stripping the two corner chestnuts of several branches in its fall.– This is not all–. One large Elm, out of the two on the left-hand side as you enter what I call the Elm walk, was likewise blown down…” (Letters 8-9 November 1800, from Steventon)

“While I write now, George is most industriously making and naming paper ships, at which he afterwards shoots with horse-chestnuts brought from Steventon on purpose; and Edward equally intent over the “Lake of Killarney,” twisting himself about in one of our great chairs.”  (Letters 24-25 October 1808, from Castle Square, Southampton)

“Your lilacs are in leaf, ours are in bloom. The horse-chestnuts are quite out, and the elms almost. I had a pleasant walk in Kensington Gardens on Sunday with Henry, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Tilson; everything was fresh and beautiful.”  (Letters 25 April 1811, from Sloane St, London)

Chestnut, Spanish/Sweet    Castanea sativia

Sweet chestnuts are not native to England, but were probably brought there by the Romans (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/sweet-chestnut/). Miller (1754) writes that sweet chestnut trees produce wood that is excellent for many uses, including for barrels and the trees are useful as ornamental trees for its tall shape and good shade (“Castanea”). Spanish (or sweet) chestnuts are only mentioned in Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner visit Miss Darcy at Pemberly:

“On reaching the house, they were shown through the hall into the saloon, whose northern aspect rendered it delightful for the summer.  Its windows opening to the ground, admitted a most refreshing view of the high woody hills behind the house, and of the beautiful oaks and Spanish chesnuts which were scattered over the intermediate lawn.”  (Pride and Prejudice 267)

Currants, Red Ribes sativum

Mawe and Abercrombie note that currants grow wild in England and that the red currants have the best flavor (“RIBES”). Currants are mentioned in Emma, when Mrs. Elton narrates her strawberry picking, and in one of Austen’s letters from Southampton:

“…Maple Grove—cultivation—beds when to be renewed—gardeners thinking exactly different—no general rule—gardeners never to be put out of their way—delicious fruit—only too rich to be eaten much of—inferior to cherries—currants more refreshing—only objection to gathering strawberries the stooping—glaring sun—tired to death—could bear it no longer—must go and sit in the shade.”  (Emma 359)

“Our garden is putting in order by a man who bears a remarkably good character, has a very fine complexion, and asks something less than the first. The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of a better kind, therefore, and at my own particular desire he procures us some syringas. I could not do without a syringa, for the sake of Cowper’s line. We talk also of a laburnum. The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.”  (Letters 8-9 February 1807, from Southampton)

Elder,  Black       Sambucus nigra

Black elder is native to England (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/elder/). Mawe and Abercrombie write that black elder is often used for hedges but can also be grown as a tree (“SAMBUCUS”) and that the fruit and flowers are used for medicinal and food purposes. Elder is mentioned in Emma when Emma and Harriet are returning in their carriage from a visit and are told that Frank Churchill is coming:

“When she looked at the hedges, she thought the elder at least must soon be coming out; and when she turned round to Harriet, she saw something like a look of spring, a tender smile even there.” (Emma 189)

Elm, English        Ulmus minor ‘Atinia’

Elms, either field elm or English elm (which is a variety of field elm), are not native to England, but were very common before Dutch elm disease made them rarer (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/english-elm/). Mawe and Abercrombie note that “The elm is a most valuable deciduous timber-tree , of lofty and magnificent growth” that thrives in forests or gardens (“ULMUS”). Elms are mentioned in Emma, when Harriet is accosted by the gipsies; at the end of “Sandition”, when Charlotte sees Clara and Sir Edward through a fence; in “Love and Freindship”, when Laura and Sophia are traveling looking for their husbands, and in Austen’s letters:

“About half a mile beyond Highbury, making a sudden turn, and deeply shaded by elms on each side, it became for a considerable stretch very retired; and when the young ladies had advanced some way into it, they had suddenly perceived at a small distance before them, on a broader patch of greensward by the side, a party of gipsies.”  (Emma 333)

“The Fence was a proper Park paling in excellent condition; with clusters of fine Elms, or rows of old Thorns following its line almost everywhere.”  “Sandition” (Minor Works 426)

“The place was suited to meditation–. A Grove of full-grown Elms sheltered us from the East–. A Bed of full-grown Nettles from the West–. Before us ran the murmuring brook and behind us ran the turnpike road.”  “Love and Freindship” (Juvenilia 127)

“Our improvements have advanced very well; the bank along the Elm Walk is sloped down for the reception of thorns and lilacs, and it is settled that the other side of the path is to continue turfed, and to be planted with beech, ash, and larch.” (Letters 25-27 October 1800, from Steventon)

“We have had a dreadful storm of wind in the fore part of this day, which has done a great deal of mischief among our trees.–I was sitting alone in the dining-room  when an odd kind of crash startled me– in a moment afterwards it was repeated; I then went to the window, which I reached just in time to see the last of our two highly-valued Elms descend into the Sweep!!!! The other, which had fallen, I suppose, in the first crash, & which was the nearest to the pond, taking a more easterly direction, sank amongst our screen of Chestnuts and firs, knocking down one spruce fir, beating off the head of another, & stripping the two corner chestnuts of several branches in its fall.– This is not all–. One large Elm, out of the two on the left-hand side as you enter what I call the Elm walk, was likewise blown down…” (Letters 8–9 November 1800, from Steventon)

“Your lilacs are in leaf, ours are in bloom. The horse-chestnuts are quite out, and the elms almost. I had a pleasant walk in Kensington Gardens on Sunday with Henry, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Tilson; everything was fresh and beautiful.”  (Letters 25 April 1811, from Sloane St London)

Firs, Silver Abies alba

“Fir” seems to be a general term for conifers, as Scotch pines were called Scotch firs (Miller, 1735 edition) and Norway spruce were called spruce firs (Miller, 1735 edition).  There are no firs native to England, but both Evelyn and Miller mention silver fir as the most common fir tree used in British gardens.  Austen mentions firs in Sense and Sensibility.  Based on Austen’s letters, there were fir trees mentioned in the gardens around Steventon and Chawton.  The Steventon letter refers to both firs and spruce firs, so see Spruce, Norway https://jasnaewanid.org/austens-trees-and-shrubs-l-z/.   

“It had no park, but the pleasure-grounds were tolerably extensive; and like every other place of the same degree of importance, it had its open shrubbery, and closer wood walk, a road of smooth gravel winding round a plantation, led to the front, the lawn was dotted over with timber, the house itself was under the guardianship of the fir, the mountain-ash, and the acacia, and a thick screen of them altogether, interspersed with tall Lombardy poplars, shut out the offices.”  (Sense and Sensibility 302)

“Our young piony at the foot of the fir-tree has just blown and looks very handsome, and the whole of the shrubbery border will soon be very gay with pinks and sweet-williams, in addition to the columbines already in bloom. The syringas, too, are coming out. We are likely to have a great crop of Orleans plumbs, but not many greengages — on the standard scarcely any, three or four dozen, perhaps, against the wall.”  (Letters 29 May 1811, from Chawton)

Gooseberry        Ribes uvacrispa

Mawe and Abercrombie note that gooseberry are usually planted in kitchen garders and the plants are hardy (“RIBES”). Gooseberry bushes are mentioned in a letter of Austen’s from Southampton.  Additionally, the fruit is mentioned in Mansfield Park when Fanny first arrives at the Park: 

 “In vain were the well-meant condescensions of Sir Thomas, and all the officious prognostications of Mrs. Norris that she would be a good girl; in vain did Lady Bertram smile and make her sit on the sofa with herself and pug, and vain was even the sight of a gooseberry tart towards giving her comfort; she could scarcely swallow two mouthfuls before tears interrupted her, and sleep seeming to be her likeliest friend, she was taken to finish her sorrows in bed.”  (Mansfield Park 13)

“Our garden is putting in order by a man who bears a remarkably good character, has a very fine complexion, and asks something less than the first. The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of a better kind, therefore, and at my own particular desire he procures us some syringas. I could not do without a syringa, for the sake of Cowper’s line. We talk also of a laburnum. The border under the terrace wall is clearing away to receive currants and gooseberry bushes, and a spot is found very proper for raspberries.”  (Letters 8-9 February 1807, from Southampton)

Hawthorn, Common Crataegus monogyna

Hawthorn is a tree that is native to Britain (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/hawthorn/). Wilson (15) writes that there were hawthorn around the rectory at Steventon where Jane Austen grew up. Mawe and Abercrombie note that hawthorn is most useful for forming hedges, especially quick-set hedges (which Austen mentions in the letter below from Chawton). Hawthorn is mentioned in one of the poems in the Juvenilia:

Ode to Pity (dated 1793)

Ever musing I delight to tread
The Paths of honour and the Myrtle Grove
Whilst the pale Moon her beams doth shed
On disappointed Love.
While Philomel on airy hawthorn Bush
Sings sweet and Melancholy, And the thrush
Converses with the Dove. (Juvenilia 97)

“The row of Beech look very well indeed, & so does the young Quickset hedge in the Garden.—I hear today that an Apricot has been detected on one of the Trees.”  (Letters 31 May 1811, from Chawton)

Hazel Corylus avellane

Hazel trees are native to England https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/hazel/). Mawe and Abercrombie describe hazel as hardy and growing “wild in such abundance in woods, wilds, forest, and field hedges in every country of the kingdom” (“CORYLUS”). Hazel trees are mentioned in Persuasion when Captain Wentworth and Louisa are walking down the center of a hedgerow and Anne overhears them talking:

“’Here is a nut,’ said he, catching one down from an upper bough, ‘to exemplify: a beautiful glossy nut, which, blessed with original strength, has outlived all the storms of autumn.  Not a puncture, not a weak spot anywhere.  This nut,’ he continued, with playful solemnity, ‘while so many of his brethren have fallen and been trodden under foot, is still in possession of all the happiness that a hazel nut can be supposed capable of.’” (Persuasion 88)

Heath Erica cinerea

Miller (1768) suggests that although heath grows wild in Britain and could be considered a “noxious weed” (“Grasses”) if you are trying to grow grass for pasture, it should also be grown in gardens due to “the beauty and long continuance of the flowers and the diversity of their leaves” (“Erica”). Heath is one of the plants that Edward Ferrars does not like in Sense and Sensibility, associating that plant with the picturesque.  Also, heath is mentioned in Mansfield Park, when Mrs. Norris “spunges” one from the gardener at Sotherton:

“’I like a fine prospect, but not on picturesque principles. I do not like crooked, twisted, blasted trees. I admire them much more if they are tall, straight, and flourishing. I do not like ruined, tattered cottages. I am not fond of nettles or thistles, or heath blossoms.’” (Sense and Sensibility 98)

“…since Julia’s leaving them they had been met by the gardener, with whom she had made a most satisfactory acquaintance, for she had set him right as to his grandson’s illness, convinced him that it was an ague, and promised him a charm for it; and he, in return, had shewn her all his choicest nursery of plants, and actually presented her with a very curious specimen of heath.”  (Mansfield Park 104)

Holly Ilex aquifolium

Holly is native to England https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-uk-native-trees/holly/) and was used for “ornamental plantations” in Austen’s time (Mawe and Abercrombie “ILEX”). Holly is mentioned in Persuasion when Anne is sitting on the side of a hedgerow and overhears Captain Wentworth and Louisa Musgrove talking: 

“For herself–she feared to move, lest she should be seen.  While she remained, a bush of low rambling holly protected her, and they were moving on.”  (Persuasion 88)