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SORBUS aucuparia

Image of Sorbus aucuparia

Jesse Saylor

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

SORBUS aucuparia

Plant Common Name

European Mountain Ash, Rowan

General Description

European mountain ash is a small to medium-sized, rounded, deciduous tree native to Europe, Siberia and western Asia. It has also become naturalized in northern regions of North America--from Newfoundland to Alaska. Many features make it a showy landscape tree all season long, including its feathery, pinnately compound leaves, flat heads of musky-scented white spring flowers, fall clusters of vibrant red-orange berry-like pomes and vibrant fall leaf color that ranges from yellow to red or burgundy. The edible pomes are favored by birds, but may also be processed into a tasty, tart jelly that is eaten with poultry or game.

Plant the European mountain ash in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil rich in organic matter. It grows best in slightly acid soils but will tolerate more alkaline soils. It also withstands strong winds, harsh winter cold and some summer heat. For best fall foliage color, water trees during substantial periods of summer drought. Plant in the landscape as a small shade tree or lawn specimen. Of the many noteworthy cultivars, 'Beissneri' has pretty coppery-brown bark and lobed leaflets, 'Carpet of Gold' bears sulfur-yellow to yellow-orange fruits, and 'Pendula' is an orange-fruited weeping form.

Be aware that several diseases and pests can be problematic, including scab, fireblight, various cankers and sawfly larvae. This tree is considered invasive in the Northwest United States and other areas.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-50' / 6.1m - 15.2m

  • Width

    15'-40' / 4.6m - 12.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Russia/Siberia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Red, Burgundy, Orange Red

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes