Monday, September 24, 2007

Sorbus, mountain ash




This small mountain ash is growing in some uncleared land next to our water tower. The leaves are an attractive dark green and the flowers are dark coral which eventually turn into dark purple colored drupes which compliments the dark green leaves very nicely. I have looked through a couple of books but have not identified what kind of Sorbus it is.

The I tried to dig up a small tree which was actually a sucker and planted it in a pot but it did not survive the winter. It's probably best to just admire it as I pass by almost daily on the dog walk because it does sucker readily and eventually creates a small grove.

When I looked up Sorbus in the botanical books I found that there are many different varieties with different characteristics. Many had very attractive white, pink and yellow fruit. I have not seen very many different Sorbus in the nurseries or planted in people's yards. I wonder why?

7 Comments:

Blogger kate said...

I haven't seen a Mountain Ash like this before. There is a common Mountain Ash here - my neighbour has one and it looks beautiful with all the ripened berries on it. My neighbour complains that it has a bad smell though. I wonder if that's why it isn't as common.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

I just assumed this was a sorbus but since you mentioned that you haven't seen one like this before, I'm questioning if it actually is a mountain ash. I guess I'll have to do more research.

Hmmm, I never noticed a bad smell around this sorbus before but I'll check again later when the berries form. I may have to look into buying a sorbus - maybe one with creamy white berries like S. cashmiriana or S. prattii.

Thanks for your comment.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

That's a lovely looking tree. I always wondered what mountain ash actually looked like. I read a lot of books by USA writers and have stumbled across the mountain ash from time to time in some of my books. So thanks for the lovely pics, Ki!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

There was a European Mountain Ash [think the name is Sorbus aucuparia] in front of my parents' home when I was a kid, and one grew in front of the first house we bought. We planted one in front of two more houses. Obviously I loved that tree! Also called Rowan Tree, the legend is that it keeps witches away from your door.

The leaves were not dark and glossy like your photo, Ki. The stink was only for a week or so in spring. The flowers didn't smell too bad when they first opened, but pretty soon the aroma was like an entire middle school class left a pile of dirty socks and underwear on your lawn.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

9:36 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hello Yolanda Elizabet,
Now don't hold me to the identification. It looked like some pictures of Sorbus I've seen but it may be entirely something else. It is quite a handsome plant though. Thanks for stopping by.

-------------------------------------
Hi Annie,
Better not plant one in Austin... or Glinda will be banished from your home.

Kate's comment and now yours about the dark leaves makes me think that this may not be a Sorbus. Your comment about the pile of dirty socks and underwear may make me reconsider my initial enthusiasm for the shrub. Yuck! I think you may have answered my question about why people don't plant them. The look of the shrub with pinnate leaves does seem like it could be a mountain ash but I'll have to do more research.

4:37 AM  
Blogger DeeMom said...

WE have an ASH
but I have YET to figure which one
SO I need to research more adn see if I ccan find the pictures of the tree in Flower,mid to late MAY ...

Annies comments got me a tad closer

looking at Fraxinus Americana

5:45 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Deemom,
We have a lot of ash trees in the neighborhood but the tree/shrub in the photo doesn't look like them at all.

I did a quick search to see if the mountain ash and the true ash was related but they're not. The mountain ash belongs to the Rosaceae family, Genus: Sorbus and the ash tree to the Oleaceae (olive) family, Genus Fraxinus. I guess they named the mountain ash an ash because the pinnate leaves resembled ash tree leaves. That's my guess anyway. ;)

I mentioned that we have many ash trees in the neighborhood but many are dying of 'ash decline' or 'ash yellows', probably some kind of microbial or fungal disease. Apparently white ash are mainly affected with only a few green and black ashes showing the symptoms of premature yellowing of leaves and eventual dieback of branches and eventually the demise of the tree.

6:59 PM  

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