Rowan. © Jari Kolehmainen, Flickr DP
The rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), is a member of the Rosaceae family. It is also called the "European rowan" or the "mountain ash".
This tree has an elegant structure. Its smooth, grey bark is dotted with lenticels. Its deciduous, quite aerial foliage turns from yellow to reddish brown in autumn and consists of rather long quilled leaves, with 10-15 delicately dentate folioles up to the base. Its small white flowers, clustered into graceful corymbs, bloom one by one in May. Its fruit ripen in August - September.
Sorbus aucuparia. © Kriska gora, CC by 2.5
The rowan is not very demanding and grows quickly. Its deep roots can stabilise scree. It tolerates shade.
This tree is frequently grown for ornamental use, in shopping centre car parks and public gardens. During the fructification period its clusters of small, bright coral red fruit give it a striking appearance. The fruit is edible but is very sharp. It is used to make compotes and jellies. In the past the fruit was distilled to make an eau de vie, especially in the Vosges region. Its wood is sometimes used by sculptors.
Author: Michel Caron
Rowan. © alschim, Flickr CC by nc-nd 2.0