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European Mountain-ash (Rowan Ash)

Sorbus aucuparia

Leaves: Deciduous. 5 to 9 inch long compound leaves with serrated leaf edges. Leaves are composed of 9 to 15 leaflets, 1 to 2½ inches long. Leaflets are oval but are slightly narrower at the points. Dull dark green color on top with pale undersides. Fall color is varies from green-yellow to orange-red.

Bark/Twigs: Thin, grey, smooth bark has some dark horizontal specks called lenticels. Young branches are hairy, becoming smooth and light grayish brown when older.

Flowers/Fruit: White, ⅓ inch five-petaled flowers grow in flat-topped 3 to 5 inch clusters. Blooms in late spring (May). Fruit a berry-like pome, ¼ to ½ inch diameter, orange-red. Attractive, pea-sized fruits turn orange in the fall, attracts birds in the winter.

Mature size and shape: Small. 20 to 40 feet high x 15 feet wide. ⅔ to equal height. Oval, upright shape. Gracefully open at maturity.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun. Moist, well-drained soil preferred. Hot, dry conditions tend to stress the tree. Prefers acidic soil. Does not tolerate salt, compacted soil, or pollution. Often short-lived. The fruit was used medicinally and contains sorbitol, which can be used as a sugar substitute.

Landscape use and maintenance: Planted as a specimen tree. Average growing rate. Average maintenance. Is susceptible to fire blight. Prune at the end of winter before the dormant period is over.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 6

Family/Origin: Rosaceae – Rose. Native from Europe to western Asia and Siberia.

Campus Use: Somewhat common. Can be found northwest of Union (Bld 53) and west of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building (Bld 45).

Last Updated: 6/3/22