The whitebeam is a tree that can reach 5 to 10 metres in height. Similar to rowans, this wild species is known for its small fruit.
Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a member of the Rosaceae family. It is also known by the names "beam tree", "chess tree" or "white beam tree".
Whitebeam flowers (Sorbus aria). © Jerzy Opioła, GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2
The young branches of this species are first white and fuzzy, then later bare. Its deciduous leaves are cuneiform, oval and doubly dentate, almost spherical, with a very fuzzy and whitish lower face. The whitebeam flowers from May to June, forming small flowers arranged into corymbs with whitish, fuzzy calyces. Its round fruit are reddish-orange with mealy pulp.
This species is found throughout Central Europe, but rarely grows in the Mediterranean regions and the West.
This tree loves warmth and especially proliferates in dry and hot environments, particularly on calcareous soil. Like many other woody species with tomentose leaves, it tolerates the polluted atmospheres of cities well.
Whitebeam fruit (Sorbus aria). © Maedin Tureaud, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Whitebeam wood is hard and dense, highly regarded for its use in decoration, and is also used to produce handles for tools. Its fruit, berries, are edible and can be used to make jam or, after fermentation and distillation, excellent liquors.
Author: Michel Caron
Whitebeam leaves (Sorbus aria) © Jean-Pol Grandmont, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license