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threatened and/or endangered

European Mountain Ash Sorbus aucuparia


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European Mountain Ash, berries and leaves
credit: Pleple2000/CCSA

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Alternate name: Rowan-tree

Family: Rosaceae, Rose view all from this family

Description Sorbus aucuparia (Rowan, European Rowan, Mountain ash, or European mountain ash) is native to most of Europe except for the far south, and northern Asia. Introduced to North America as an ornamental, it is naturalized in southern Canada and the northern U.S.

It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree typically growing to 8–10 m tall, more rarely 20 m, and exceptionally to 28 m. The bark is smooth, silvery grey of young trees, becoming scaly pale grey-brown and occasionally fissured on old trees. The shoots are green and variably hairy at first, becoming grey-brown and hairless; the buds are conspicuous, purple-brown, and often densely hairy. The leaves are pinnate, 10–22 cm long and 6-12 cm broad, with 9–19 (most often 13–15) leaflets; each leaflet is 3–7 cm long and 15–23 mm broad, with a coarsely serrated margin; they are variably hairy, particularly the petiole and leaf veins on the underside. The hermaphrodite flowers are produced in large terminal corymbs 8–15 cm diameter with up to 250 flowers, the individual flowers 1 cm diameter, with five creamy-white petals, and are insect pollinated. The fruit is a small pome 6–9 mm (rarely up to 14 mm) diameter, green at first, ripening bright red in late summer, and containing up to eight (most commonly two) small seeds. It is diploid, with a chromosome count of 2n=34.

Habitat Cities, suburbs & towns.

Range Alaska, New England, Southeast, Plains, Rocky Mountains, California, Great Lakes, Northwest, Western Canada, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic.