Rowan Trees (Sorbus aucuparia)

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Rowan Trees (Sorbus aucuparia)

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Rowan trees are native to the UK and northern and western Europe.

Scientific name: Sorbus aucuparia Family: Rosaceae

UK provenance: native

Rowan trees are also known as the mountain ash, due to the fact that they grow well at high altitudes and its leaves are similar to those of the ash, Fraxinus excelsior. However, the two species are not related. It is believed to ward off witches and evil spirits with its mystical virtues. Mature rowan trees can grow to 15m and can live for up to 200 years. The bark is smooth and silvery grey, and leaf buds are purple and hairy.

Leaves: pinnate (like a feather), comprising 5-8 pairs of leaflets, plus one ‘terminal’ leaflet at the end. Each leaflet is long, oval and toothed.

Flowers: rowan is hermaphrodite, meaning each flower contains both male and female reproductive parts. It blossoms generously in the spring with creamy white flowers. Flowers are borne in dense clusters, each one bearing five creamy white petals

Fruits: after successful pollination by insects, they develop into scarlet fruits. The berries of the rowan tree are rich in Vitamin C. The seeds are dispersed by birds.

Plant your rowan tree in a full sun or partly shaded location. Ideally, the soil should be well draining, although the rowan tree is not too finicky about its conditions. It can be trusted to withstand drought, winds and cold. A rowan tree may need to be pruned when it is young to remove vertical branches or those that crossover other branches. Once the tree is mature, it will no longer require pruning.