Sorbus rupicola    Rock Whitebeam RR D N

Sorbus rupicola habitat Sorbus rupicola buds

This Sorbus grows in limestone areas and typically out of rock faces. Very nice then to find one, previously identified let me hasten to add in case anyone might think I have suddenly acquired a skill at identifying Whitebeams, growing 20 feet above my head, in locus classicus.

The leaves of this Whitebeam should be elongated i.e. narrowly obovate, untoothed at the base, densely tomentose underneath and with 7 to 9 (6 at least, 11 at most) veins. This is true of the few you can see in the photo. There were at least six examples of this rare shrub growing from the cliffs next to the Great Orme tramway and all totally inaccessible except by abseiling. Fortunately there are others growing on hillsides nearby which a photographer can get close to.

Largely absent from the south east of England and central and southern Ireland, the few trees which exist are scarce and slightly more frequent the further north you go into northern England and Scotland.

Great Orme, North Wales 27th May 2006

Added on 28th May 2006, updated 10th February 2012, updated 16th Nov 2014

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