Sorbus wilmottiana   Wilmott's Whitebeam RRR DDD N Endemic

Sorbus wilmottiana

This small Whitebeam (not more than 6m tall) tree is another endemic and found only in the Avon Gorge where is estimated that only 42 such specimens grow. It is a member of the aria aggregate and so has red fruits. The red fruits have large lenticels (little white scabs on the surface) and in this species they are large and found near the base of the fruit which has a longer polar diameter than equatorial. None of these features can be seen from the photograph which had to be taken from the base of the tree looking almost directly upwards to the top branches with a zoom.

The leaves are usually held erect and are said to give a "tidy" appearance to the foliage on the tree. Each leaf has about 8 or 9 veins occasionally 10 and the has a roughly symmetrical rhomboid (diamond) shape.This means that the leaf has a horizontal axis of symmetry and can be folded over from tip to stalk to make equal halves. The aria group have tomentose undersides to the leaf and this one has a greenish white appearance as can be seen from the one leaf folded back.

Again the difficulty reflects the trouble you would have finding this Sorbus in a large wood which has various Sorbus species present including a large number of the common S. aria itself.

Leigh Woods, Avon Gorge 10th September 2006

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

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