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Identify the Sargent's Rowan (sorbus hupehensis)


Sorbus aucuparia (Rowan tree)
sorbus aucuparia, click to enlarge

An ideal tree for the medium or large garden. The Rowan tree takes 40 years to reach 15m (50ft) high and 9m (30ft) in diameter.


Rowan or Mountain Ash (sorbus aucuparia)
The Rowan tree is native to the majority of Europe (the far south excluded), North Africa and Asia Minor. Because it is such an attractive tree it is planted in all the temperate regions of world in parks, gardens and arboretum.

Leaf of sorbus aucuparia (Rowan tree)

The leaves are shown on the left (click the picture to enlarge). As the leaves emerge they are a mid green colour. In early to mid autumn / fall the leaves turn yellow to orange and fall off.

Each stem has around 11 to 15 individual leaves which are toothed along the edges except at the base where they are untoothed.

Bark and trunk of sorbus aucuparia (Rowan)

The bark on young trees is a shiny grey colour ageing to a brown-grey colour. The texture of the bark is generally smooth, especially on younger trees.

The width of the trunk restricts the size of wood that can be taken form a Rowan. But it is very hard and often used for small items such as garden tool handles which require a high breaking point.

Fruit of sorbus aucuparia (Rowan tree)

The fruits appear in late summer, and are initially green, they quickly ripen to a bright red in very early September. Birds love them and often trees are stripped of their ripening fruit within a few days, especially if the weather turns cold.

Each fruit is about 8mm in diameter and they appear in large clusters of 20 or more berries. The fruits are edible, although they are extremely bitter until frosted or over-ripe.


The flowers appear in mid-May as sprays of cream to white between 10 to 15cm (4 to 6in) wide. Insects pollinate the flowers. They have a slightly sweet scent.

There is very little to distinguish the flowers of sorbus aucuparia from other species of Rowans.

As well as sorbus aucuparia there are many variants each with their own differences in appearance. Below we list those for which we have pictures.

Sorbus aucuparia 'Beissneri'
This cultivar is frequently used in place of the Common Rowan.

Tree of sorbus aucuparia Beissneri

Sorbus aucuparia 'Sheerwater Seedling'
'Sheerwater Seedling' is frequently found lining streets because it has a very upright shape and is comparatively narrow. Spring flowers, autumn red berries and pleasant foliage which turns orange / red make this ideal for gardens as well.

Sorbus aucuparia 'Sheerwater Seedling'

Sorbus aucuparia 'Fructo Luteo'
Reaching an eventual height of 8m (25ft) this is an excellent garden tree. The berries are yellow, turning a light orange. The "head" of the tree is wider compared to many sorbus aucuparia cultivars.

Bark of sorbus aucuparia 'Fructo Luteo'

Berries of sorbus aucuparia 'Fructo Luteo'

Leaf of sorbus aucuparia 'Fructo Luteo'


Sorbus aucuparia 'Fructo Luteo'