Sorbus bristoliensis   Bristol Whitebeam RRR DDD N Endemic

sorbus bristoliensis tree sorbus bristoliensis fruit and leaves sorbus bristoliensis lenticels

This endemic tree is only found in the Avon Gorge but there are estimated to be about 300 trees growing there. It is a member of the latifolia aggregate which has distinctly toothed leaves. In S. bristoliensis these teeth or lobes are forward pointing as can be seen from the photo and they usually have about 9 veins (7 to 10 range).

The orange fruit is characteristic of the latifolia aggregate and in this case are longer (polar diameter) than broad (equatorial diameter). there are usually lenticels (small white scabs on the fruit) to be seen (photo on the right) and in S. bristoliensis they are found more towards the base of the fruit than the top.

The other interesting feature of this tree is that it quite often divides into two main trunks like the one in the left photo. Although that doesn't always happen, every single one of the examples we saw on this WFS meeting had a forked trunk.

The difficulty in finding the tree in this case is that the woods where they are to be found are full of different Sorbus species rather than a presenting a physical difficulty of access. Without fruit an ordinary botanist would have some difficulty in identifying this tree and even with fruit it presents a tricky problem.

Leigh Woods, Avon Gorge 10th September 2006

Added on 25th September 2006, updated 10th February 2012

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