What Are Pip Berries?
Pip buds can add a touch of color, texture and an earthy feel to your home. You can find artificially constructed pip berries or you can find them in nature in the early spring as part of the tree growing cycle. There are several craft stores and online distributors that sell premade pip berry decorations, or you can make your own design.
The little seed buds that swell out of the branches of certain trees in early spring are called pip berries. Pip berries used for decorative purposes often come from the Wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and willow trees, but they can come from a number of trees. You can also find artificial pip berries at craft stores.
The pip berry appearance depends on the tree it is derived from. The branches of the Wych elm are an aesthetically pleasing dark gray color and they have fuzzy hairs protruding out of the twigs. The buds, or pip berries, are small and fuzzy with a dark grayish or gray-purple color. Willow branches are medium gray, are quite flexible and hang in long strands. The buds are fuzzy and light colored.
Pip berries are used for candle holder rings, wreathes, household decorative purposes and are often found as Christmas decorations. Artificial pip berries are used for decorations as well and are usually made of a hard resin. These come in many different colors.
How to Use
Cut small tree branches in the early spring when the buds form. You don’t want large branches; you want the smaller, twig-like branches. Gather a small armful and place them in a vase, or construct them into wreaths or other shapes. You can paint the buds with a small amount of fingernail polish if you want to add some color.
- Science and Plants for Schools: Wych Elm
- Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland: Wych Elm - Ulmus glabra
- Environmental Education for Kids: Willow
- "Western Garden Book"; Sunset Western Garden Book; 2007.