Sorbus aucuparia   Rowan CCC DD N

Sorbus acuparia fruit Sorbus acuparia flowers

Most of the Sorbus species, I can't get too excited about probably because my botany isn't good enough to tell them apart without study and constant referral to experts but I make an exception for the glorious Rowan known just as often as Mountain Ash. This, as its name suggests grows in rocky places even at high altitude and with its scarlet berries in summer is one of the great sights to look out for when you're climbing hills. The pinnate leaves remind you of a Fraxinus excelsior (Ash) and the white flowers are typical of Sorbus most of which look very similar.

Sorbus aucuparia grows throughout the British Isles and is at home as much in the outer Hebrides and Shetland as it is in mainland Britain or Ireland. You don't see it so often in the most industrialised parts of the country but it is a sight to behold covered in berries growing out of a rock crevice above a mountain stream.

If you want to know more about the folklore and history of the Rowan try to get hold of a copy of BSBI Handbook No 14 (Whitebeams, Rowans and Service Trees of Britain and Ireland by Tim Rich, Libby Houston, Ashley Robertson and Michael Proctor). As and example of the information they give aucuparia derives from the Latin aucupor which means to go bird catching or lie in wait for (birds). Birds are so fond of the berries of the Rowan that they can be gone within a week in my garden where one has self seeded.

Sorbus acuparia

Sorbus acuparia Rowan

Path to Cwm Idwal not far from A5, North Wales 10th October 2009

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Sorbus acuparia Rowan

LHS: Gaitbarrows Nature Reserve, 20th July 2004 RHS: Edge of Hatchmere, Cheshire 9th May 2005

Added on November 9th 2004, updated February 10th 2012

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