I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!

Woods of the Viking Age

This is an excerpt from a forthcoming book I am writing, dealing with woodworking during the Viking Age. When published in the book, the list will also have alternate names and notes. The countries in which the woods were found are listed, and the final column—Unknown—refers to artifacts that have been uncovered made from some species of the wood.

Speaking of the native trees of the British Isles, the British Woodland Trust  notes that “native trees are usually defined as trees that arrived and grew here naturally after the last Ice Age, and were not introduced by humans.” Since we are here concerned with native trees and, most especially, trees that were available for use in the Viking Age, we like this definition and wish that other countries—and especially those who class as “native,” trees that have a North American or Asian origin—adhered to this definition as well. The following list was assembled from a variety of mainly botanical sources, checked against Wikipedia and may therefore be incorrect. Since we know about as much about botany as most botanists seem to know about history, any corrections will be gratefully received!

Tree

 

Latin

 

British Isles

 

Denmark

 

Iceland

 

Norway

 

Sweden

 

Unknown

 

Alder

 

Alnus Glutinosa

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Apple, Wild

 

Malus Sylvestris

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Ash

 

Fraxinus Excelsior

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Aspen

 

Populus Tremula

 

BI

 

Den

 

Ice

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Beech

 

Fagus Sylvatica

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

BIrch

 

Populus Nigra

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

BIrch, Downy

 

Betula Pubescens

 

BI

 

 

Ice

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

BIrch, Silver

 

Betula Pendula

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Blackthorn

 

Prunus Spinosa

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Box

 

Buxus Sempervirens

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Cherry, Sour

 

Prunus Vulgaris

 

 

Den

 

       

Cherry, Wild

 

Prunus Avium

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Chestnut, Horse

Chestnut, Sweet

 

Aesculus Hippocastanum

 Castanea sativa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unk

 

Elm, Wych

 

Ulmus Glabra

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Fruitwood

 

Pomoidae Family

 

         

Unk

 

Hawthorn, Common

 

Crataegus Monogyna

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unl

 

Hawthorn, Midland

 

Crataegus Laevigata

 

BI

 

         

Hazel

 

Corylus Avellana

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Holly, European

 

Ilex Aquifolium

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk?

 

Hornbeam, European

 

Carpinus Betulus

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Juniper, Common

 

Juniperus Communis

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Larch, European

Larix Deciduous

         

Unk

 

Lime, Large Leaved

 

Tilia Platyphyllos

 

BI

 

Nor

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Lime, Common

 

Tilia X Vulgaris

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Lime, Small-leaved

 

Tilia Cordata

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Maple, Field

 

Acer Campestre

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Maple, Norway

 

Acer Platanoides

 

     

Nor

 

Swe

 

 

Mistletoe

 

Obligate Hemi-Parasitic

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Oak, Common

 

Quercus Robur

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Oak, Sessile

 

Quercus Petraea

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Osier, Common

 

Salix Viminalis

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Pear, Wild

 

Pyrus Pyraster

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Pine, Scots

 

Pinus Sylvestris

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Plum, Cherry

 

Prunus cerasifera

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Poplar, Black

 

Populus Nigra

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Rose, Guelder

 

Viburnum opulus

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Rowan, European

 

Sorbus Aucuparia

 

BI

 

Den

 

Ice

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Service-berry

 

Amelanchier ovalis

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Service Tree

 

Sorbus domestica

 

BI

 

Den

 

       

Service Tree, Wild

 

Sorbus Torminalias

 

BI

 

         

Spindlewood

 

Euonymus Europaeus

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Spruce, Norway

 

Picea Abies

 

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Strawberry Tree

 

Arbutus Unedo

 

BI

 

         

Wayfaring Tree

 

Viburnum lantana

 

BI

 

         

Whitebeam, Common

 

Sorbus Aria

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Whitebeam, Swedish

 

Sorbus Intermedia

 

 

Den

 

   

Swed

 

 

Willow, Almond

 

Salix Triandra

 

BI

 

         

Willow, Arctic

 

Salix Polaris

 

     

Nor

 

   

Willow, Bay

 

Salix Pentandra

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow Black

 

Salix Myrtilloides

 

     

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Crack

 

Salix Fragilis

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow. Dwarf

 

Salix Herbacea

 

     

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Eared

 

Salix aurita

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Green

 

Salix Phylicifolia

 

BI

 

   

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Grey

 

Salix Cinerea

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Goat

 

Salix Caprea

 

BI

 

   

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Purple

 

Salix Purpurea

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow. Net-leaved

 

Salix Reticulata

 

     

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, Tea-leaved

 

Salix Phylicifolia

 

BI

 

Den

 

Ice

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Willow, White

 

Salix Alba

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

 

Yew, European

 

Taxus Baccata

 

BI

 

Den

 

 

Nor

 

Swed

 

Unk

 

Neil Peterson has compiled a very useful listing of woods used in artefacts at http://www.darkcompany.ca/articles/wood.php

Advertisements

8 responses

  1. Lee

    I think I spotted a couple of typo’s. I think “Sage” should be “Sage” and “lie” should be “like” in the second paragraph second (quoted sentence),

    December 13, 2011 at 05:19

  2. Lee

    Looking forward to seeing the book by the way.

    December 13, 2011 at 05:19

  3. Thanks! They’ve been corrected (and will teach me to add something when I’m feeling tired. Okay, it probably won’t…).

    December 13, 2011 at 05:33

  4. Hey, tnahks so much for posting this original and unique article. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited blogsfrom Google and they’ve got nothing on them but [censored] ads and false information that’s unereliable [sic]. I don’tnormally comment on blogs, but I just thought that i’d drop you a line and tell you that I think you’re doing a fantastic job.Thanks! if you want, you can check out my blog at and

    January 31, 2012 at 19:05

  5. Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures
    aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
    linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers
    and both show the same outcome.

    August 15, 2014 at 01:48

    • Ah hates when that happens! Can you give me a heads up on which piccies are fouling up so that I can investigate further?

      August 18, 2014 at 11:10

  6. Excellent article! We are linking to this great post on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

    October 5, 2014 at 15:22

    • Ta! I will try!

      October 7, 2014 at 21:42

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s