Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Rowan gets its alternative name of mountain ash from its abundance in upland areas and from the shape and pattern of its leaves, which resemble its unrelated namesake. It produces a large crop of vivid orange berries, popular with humans as well as birds. There is a long history of superstition connected with this tree and it his believed to have certain magical powers. In Scotland, for instance, it is considered unlucky to cut down a rowan. Wild service tree, service tree and whitebeam also produce fruit, but they rarely ripen in the British climate and it is thought that these trees spread mainly from shoots or suckers. The fruit has been eaten in many parts of the country but it has to be left to go rotten, or 'bletted' before they are edible. Wild service tree's 'chequers' and whitebeam fruit have also been used for making alcoholic liquor, no doubt sold in the many Chequers Inns.
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Description

The genus of Sorbus trees comprises a widely differing group. The family includes rowan, also known as the mountain ash Sorbus aucuparia, wild service tree S. torminalis, service tree S. domestica, and whitebeam S. aria. Their sizes range from 5 m for some of the isolated and exposed varieties, up to 25 m in the case of the wild service tree. Their leaves also display a wide variety of shapes, some resembling the ash and others with a similar appearance to maple or hornbeam. Whitebeam is notorious for producing local varieties, some of these restricted to a handful of individuals confined to an extremely small area. There are believed to be about 14 separate species, but it is possible that new varieties will continue to be discovered - or even evolve - on inaccessible cliffs the British Isles.
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Distribution

Range

Rowan is found all over Britain, chiefly on acid or light soils. Wild service tree is confined, largely, to southern England and seems to be an indicator of ancient woodland and hedgerow. Its stronghold is in the area of Kent, Sussex and Hampshire known as the Weald, and here there seems to be a curious connection. The berries of the tree are known locally as 'chequers' from their speckled markings, and were popular as food. These berries may have been the source of the name of 'Chequers Inn', many examples of which exist in this South-East corner of England. The discovery of the range of the service tree is an intriguing and complicated story. It is now believed that the tree was once fairly common over Wales, the South-West and the Midlands but, until quite recently, the only 'wild' specimen was thought to exist in the Wyre Forest. Then a relic population of wild trees was discovered on cliffs in South Glamorgan. From their location it is certain they were not 'planted' by humans as has happened in collections and arboreta elsewhere in England. Some botanists have suggested that other cliff-faces in the south of England should be examined to see if more undiscovered populations exist. Whitebeam, in its various local forms, is found in isolated places throughout England, Scotland and Wales. One of these species, S. leyana, is limited in its range to a few shrubs growing near Merthyr Tydfil in Brecon whilst, S. wilmottiana is found only in the Avon Gorge near Bristol. The four main species, aria, aucuparia, torminalis and domestica are found throughout central and southern Europe.
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Ecology

Habitat

The requirements of these different species vary from acid soil to crumbling limestone rock.
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Associations

Foodplant / sap sucker
adult of Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale sucks sap of Sorbus
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Actinocladium anamorph of Actinocladium rhodosporum is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed perithecium of Amphisphaeria millepunctata is saprobic on dead twig of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Alysidium anamorph of Botryobasidium aureum is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / open feeder
epiphyllous larva of Caliroa cerasi grazes on leaf of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 6-9

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed perithecium of Cercophora caudata is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 8-3

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Catenularia dematiaceous anamorph of Chaetosphaeria innumera is saprobic on fallen, dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Claussenomyces atrovirens is saprobic on damp, rotting wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: mostly 4-6

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Coccomyces coronatus is saprobic on dead leaf of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 8-11

Foodplant / gall
larva of Contarinia floriperda causes gall of flower bud of Sorbus
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / gall
larva of Contarinia sorbi causes gall of leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, often in rings under bark perithecium of Coronophora gregaria is saprobic on dead twig of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Corynespora dematiaceous anamorph of Corynespora cambrensis is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 3-5

Foodplant / open feeder
gregarious larva of Croesus septentrionalis grazes on live leaf edge of Sorbus
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
sporodochium of Cryptocoryneum dematiaceous anamorph of Cryptocoryneum condensatum is saprobic on dead bark of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Dactylaria anamorph of Dactylaria candidula is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-4

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial stroma of Daldinia concentrica is saprobic on wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Haplographium dematiaceous anamorph of Dematioscypha dematiicola is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
Foveostroma anamorph of Dermea ariae is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 2-5

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, often loosely grouped perithecium of Diaporthe eres is saprobic on wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Diaporthe impulsa is saprobic on dead, often still attached branch of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
widely effused stroma of Diatrype stigma is saprobic on dead, decorticate or with bark rolling back branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Dictyosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Dictyosporium toruloides is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Diplococcium dematiaceous anamorph of Diplococcium spicatum is saprobic on dead, often rotting wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / pathogen
Dothichiza anamorph of Dothiorella pyrenophora infects and damages live branch (small) of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 3-4

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Endophragmiella dematiaceous anamorph of Endophragmiella ellisii is saprobic on dead wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / gall
Eriophyes pyri causes gall of live leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / pathogen
Erwinia amylovora infects and damages flower of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
tendril-forming Cytospora coelomycetous anamorph of Eutypella sorbi is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Acrogenospora dematiaceous anamorph of Farlowiella carmichaeliana is saprobic on dead bark of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 2-4

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Graphium dematiaceous anamorph of Graphium calicioides is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Grifola frondosa parasitises live root of Sorbus

Foodplant / gall
hypophyllous aecium of Gymnosporangium clavariiforme causes gall of live leaf of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 7-9+
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / gall
aecium of Gymnosporangium confusum causes gall of live fruit of Sorbus
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
pycnium of Gymnosporangium cornutum parasitises live leaf of Sorbus

Plant / resting place / within
ovum of Hoplocampa ariae may be found in ovary of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Hyaloscypha leuconica is saprobic on dead wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse stroma of Hypoxylon multiforme is saprobic on dead, decorticate branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 10-4
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial perithecium of Lasiosphaeria canescens is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 11-6

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial perithecium of Lasiosphaeria hirsuta is saprobic on old wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-4

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, closely packed in large clusters perithecium of Lasiosphaeria spermoides is saprobic on rotting wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 11-4

Foodplant / saprobe
often crowded, immersed then usually transversely erumpent, plurilocular stroma of Cytospora coelomycetous anamorph of Leucostoma persoonii is saprobic on dead twig of Sorbus

Foodplant / miner
larva of Magdalis barbicornis mines below cambium of dead twig of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Sporoschisma dematiaceous anamorph of Melanochaeta aotearoae is saprobic on rotten wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, often in very large clusters pseudothecium of Melanomma pulvis-pyrius is saprobic on dry, hard, decorticate branch wood of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
sporodochium of Tubercularia anamorph of Nectria cinnabarina is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent stroma of Nectria coccinea is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Nectria galligena is saprobic on Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Nectria mammoidea var. mammoidea is saprobic on fallen, dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
perithecium of Nectria viridescens is saprobic on bark of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 9-5

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Geniculosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Nemania serpens is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus

Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous, subepidermal uredium of Ochropsora ariae parasitises live leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / roller
larva of Pamphilius sylvaticus rolls leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Perenniporia fraxinea is saprobic on live trunk (base) of Sorbus
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
sessile apothecium of Pezizellaster serratus is saprobic on bark (inner surface) of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 4

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Phellinus pomaceus is saprobic on dead Sorbus

Foodplant / feeds on
Phyllobius glaucus feeds on Sorbus

Foodplant / gall
Phyllocoptes sorbeus causes gall of leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / parasite
cleistothecia of Podosphaera clandestina var. aucupariae parasitises live shoot (young) of Sorbus

Foodplant / feeds on
Polydrusus cervinus feeds on Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Postia tephroleuca is saprobic on dead, fallen, decayed trunk (large) of Sorbus
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / open feeder
larva of Priophorus pallipes grazes on leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Proliferodiscus pulveraceus is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 6-9

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, exposed by peeling back or shedding of host periderm apothecium of Propolis farinosa is saprobic on dead branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12 (best condition: 2-3)

Foodplant / saprobe
apothecium of Protounguicularia barbata f. resinacea is saprobic on dead, fallen wood of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Pseudospiropes dematiaceous anamorph of Pseudospiropes subuliferus is saprobic on dead bark of Sorbus

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Rhogogaster chlorosoma grazes on leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Rhogogaster punctulata grazes on leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Spadicoides dematiaceous anamorph of Spadicoides bina is saprobic on dead bark of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-12

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Sporidesmium dematiaceous anamorph of Sporidesmium folliculatum is saprobic on fallen branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 3-11

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Sporoschisma dematiaceous anamorph of Sporoschisma juvenile is saprobic on bark of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Taeniolella dematiaceous anamorph of Taeniolella scripta is saprobic on Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Taeniolina anamorph of Taeniolina scripta is saprobic on dead bark of Sorbus

Foodplant / open feeder
nocturnal larva of Tenthredo livida grazes on leaf of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
stromatic, sometimes confluent sporodochium of Trimmatostroma dematiaceous anamorph of Trimmatostroma betulinum is saprobic on fallen branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 2-5

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent through bark, often in large clusters apothecium of Tympanis conspersa is saprobic on dead twig of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 1-7

Foodplant / saprobe
subgregarious to densely scattered, covered then erumpent, blackish grey with paler roundish flat disc stroma of Cytospora coelomycetous anamorph of Valsa ambiens is saprobic on branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 10-5

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, in groups of about 10 perithecium of Valsa ceratosperma is saprobic on branch of Sorbus
Remarks: season: 11-3

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Virgaria dematiaceous anamorph of Virgaria nigra is saprobic on bark of Sorbus

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Xylohypha dematiaceous anamorph of Xylohypha ferruginosa is saprobic on wood of Sorbus

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 284
Specimens with Sequences: 454
Specimens with Barcodes: 395
Species: 58
Species With Barcodes: 56
Public Records: 97
Public Species: 25
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Barcode data

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Not listed
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Threats

Rowan is a common species, more particularly as it has been planted as an amenity tree in gardens and along residential streets in towns and cities, as have whitebeams. The other species, it seems, have never been particularly common in the UK, particularly the 14 'micro' species. It is quite possible that they are on the northern edge of their range, especially in the case of the whitebeam. It is difficult to assess whether they are truly endangered in the accepted sense, as it is by no mean certain that they were ever common in this county. Sorbus domestica is rare and may have declined considerably in recent years.
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Management

Conservation

The various rare whitebeam species are included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme whilst S. leyana is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans. Work on these species is limited, primarily, to protecting the sites where they occur and carrying out genetic studies to ascertain their provenance. It is highly likely that other curious and isolated varieties of Sorbus may be discovered in isolated, and almost inaccessible parts of the British Isles.
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Wikipedia

Rowan

For other uses, see Rowan (disambiguation).
"Quicken Tree" redirects here. For the racehorse, see Quicken Tree (horse).

The rowans or mountain-ashes are shrubs or trees in genus Sorbus of family Rosaceae. They are native throughout the cool temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with the highest species diversity in the mountains of western China and the Himalaya, where numerous apomictic microspecies occur.[1] The name rowan was originally applied to the species Sorbus aucuparia, and is also used for other species in Sorbus subgenus Sorbus.[2] Rowans are unrelated to the true ash trees, which belong to the genus Fraxinus, family Oleaceae, though their leaves bear superficial similarity.

Formerly, when a wider variety of fruits were commonly eaten in European and North American culture, Sorbus counted among the home fruits, though ironically Sorbus domestica is all but extinct in Britain.[3] Natural hybrids, often including Sorbus aucuparia and the whitebeam, Sorbus aria, give rise to many endemic variants in the UK.[4]

Names[edit]

The traditional names of the rowan are those applied to the species Sorbus aucuparia, Sorbus torminalis (wild service-tree) and Sorbus domestica (true service-tree). The Latin name sorbus was loaned into Old English as syrfe. The name "service-tree" for Sorbus domestica is derived from that name by folk etymology. The Latin name sorbus is from a root for "red, reddish-brown" (PIE *sor-/*ser-); English sorb is attested from the 1520s in the sense "fruit of the service tree", adopted via French sorbe from Latin sorbum "service-berry". Sorbus domestica is also known as "Whitty Pear", the adjective whitty meaning as much as "pinnate". The name "mountain-ash" for Sorbus domestica is due to a superficial similarity of the rowan leaves to those of the ash; not to be confused in Fraxinus ornus, a true ash that is also known as "mountain ash".[5] Sorbus torminalis is also known as "chequer tree", its fruits, formerly used to flavour beer, being called "chequers", perhaps from the spotted pattern of the fruit.

The name rowan is recorded from 1804, detached from an earlier rowan-tree, rountree, attested from the 1540s in northern English and Scottish. It is from a North Germanic source (such as Middle Norwegian), derived from Old Norse reynir (c.f. Norwegian rogn, Swedish rönn), ultimately from the Germanic verb *raud-inan "to redden", in reference to the berries (as is the Latin name sorbus). Various dialectal variants of rowan are found in English, including ran, roan, rodan, royan, royne, round, rune;[citation needed]

The Old English name of the rowan is cwic-beám, which survives in the name quickbeam (also quicken, quicken-tree and variants). This name by the 19th-century was re-interpreted as connected to the word witch, from a dialectal variant wick for quick and names such as wicken-tree, wich-tree, wicky, wiggan-tree, giving rise to names such as witch-hazel,[6] witch-tree.[7]

The Old Irish name is cairtheand, reflected in Modern Irish caorann. The "arboreal" Bríatharogam in the Book of Ballymote associates the rowan with the letter luis, with the gloss "delightful to the eye (li sula) is luis, i.e. rowan (caertheand), owing to the beauty of its berries". Due to this, "delight of the eye" (vel sim.) has been reported as a "name of the rowan" by some commentators.[who?] In the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia this species is commonly referred to as a "Dogberry" tree.[8] In German, Sorbus aucuparia is known as the Vogelbeerbaum ("bird-berry-tree") or as Eberesche. The latter is a compound of the name of the ash tree (Esche) with what is contemporarily the name of the boar (Eber) but in fact the continuation of a Gaulish name, eburo- (also the name for a dark reddish-brown colour, cognate with Greek orphnos, Old Norse iarpr "brown"); like sorbus, eburo- seems to have referred to the colour of the berries; it is also recorded as a Gaulish name for the yew (which also has red berries), see also Eburodunum (disambiguation). The Welsh name Criafol refers to the tree as 'lamenting fruit', associating the red fruit with the blood of Christ; as Welsh tradition believed the Cross was carved from the wood of this tree.

Botany[edit]

White-fruited Rowan Sorbus glabrescens, a Chinese species with white fruit

Rowans are mostly small deciduous trees 10–20 m tall, though a few are shrubs. The leaves are arranged alternately, and are pinnate, with (7–)11–35 leaflets; a terminal leaflet is always present. The flowers are borne in dense corymbs; each flower is creamy white, and 5–10 mm across with five petals. The fruit is a small pome 4–8 mm diameter, bright orange or red in most species, but pink, yellow or white in some Asian species. The fruit are soft and juicy, which makes them a very good food for birds, particularly waxwings and thrushes, which then distribute the rowan seeds in their droppings.[1] Due to their small size the fruits are often referred to as berries, but a berry is a simple fruit produced from a single ovary, whereas a pome is an accessory fruit.

Rowan is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species; see Lepidoptera that feed on Sorbus.

Mature European Rowan tree

The best-known species is the European Rowan Sorbus aucuparia, a small tree typically 4–12 m tall growing in a variety of habitats throughout northern Europe and in mountains in southern Europe and southwest Asia. Its berries are a favourite food for many birds and are a traditional wild-collected food in Britain and Scandinavia. It is one of the hardiest European trees, occurring to 71° north in Vardø in Arctic Norway, and has also become widely naturalised in northern North America.

Rowan flowers

The greatest diversity of form as well as the largest number of Rowan species is in Asia, with very distinctive species such as Sargent's Rowan Sorbus sargentiana with large leaves 20–35 cm long and 15–20 cm broad and very large corymbs with 200–500 flowers, and at the other extreme, Small-leaf Rowan Sorbus microphylla with leaves 8–12 cm long and 2.5–3 cm broad. While most are trees, the Dwarf Rowan Sorbus reducta is a low shrub to 50 cm tall. Several of the Asian species are widely cultivated as ornamental trees.

North American native species in the subgenus Sorbus (Sorbus) include the American mountain-ash Sorbus americana and Showy mountain-ash Sorbus decora in the east and Sitka mountain-ash Sorbus sitchensis in the west.

Numerous hybrids, mostly behaving as true species reproducing by apomixis, occur between rowans and whitebeams; these are variably intermediate between their parents but generally more resemble whitebeams and are usually grouped with them (q.v.).

Selected species[edit]

Uses[edit]

Rowans are excellent small ornamental trees for parks, gardens and wildlife areas. Several of the Chinese species, such as White-fruited rowan (Sorbus glabrescens) are popular for their unusual fruit colour, and Sargent's rowan (Sorbus sargentiana) for its exceptionally large clusters of fruit. Numerous cultivars have also been selected for garden use, several of them, such as the yellow-fruited Sorbus 'Joseph Rock', of hybrid origin.[1] They are very attractive to fruit-eating birds, which is reflected in the old name "bird catcher".

The wood is dense and used for carving and turning and for tool handles and walking sticks.[9] Rowan fruit are a traditional source of tannins for mordanting vegetable dyes.[10] In Finland, it has been a traditional wood of choice for horse sled shafts and rake spikes.

The fruit of European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) can be made into a slightly bitter jelly which in Britain is traditionally eaten as an accompaniment to game, and into jams and other preserves, on their own, or with other fruit. The fruit can also be a substitute for coffee beans, and have many uses in alcoholic beverages: to flavour liqueurs and cordials, to produce country wine, and to flavour ale. In Austria a clear rowan schnapps is distilled which is called by its German name Vogelbeerschnaps. Czechs also make a Rowan liquor called jeřabinka[11] and the Welsh used to make one called diodgriafel.[12]

Rowan cultivars with superior fruit for human food use are available but not common; mostly the fruits are gathered from wild trees growing on public lands.

Rowan fruit contains sorbic acid, an acid that takes its name from the Latin name of the genus Sorbus. The raw fruit also contain parasorbic acid (about 0.4%-0.7% in the European rowan[13]), which causes indigestion and can lead to kidney damage, but heat treatment (cooking, heat-drying etc.) and, to a lesser extent, freezing, neutralises it, by changing it to the benign sorbic acid. Luckily, they are also usually too astringent to be palatable when raw. Collecting them after first frost (or putting in the freezer) cuts down on the bitter taste as well.

Mythology and folklore[edit]

The European rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) has a long tradition in European mythology and folklore. It was thought to be a magical tree and give protection against malevolent beings.[14] The tree was also called "wayfarer's tree" or "traveller's tree" because it supposedly prevents those on a journey from getting lost.[15] It was said in England that this was the tree on which the Devil hanged his mother. [16]

British folklorists of the Victorian era reported the folk belief in apotropaic powers of the rowan-tree, in particular in the warding off of witches. Such a report is given by Edwin Lees (1856) for the Wyre Forest in the English West Midlands.[17] Sir James Frazer (1890) reported such a tradition in Scotland, where the tree was often planted near a gate or front door.[18] According to Frazer, birds' droppings often contain rowan seeds, and if such droppings land in a fork or hole where old leaves have accumulated on a larger tree, such as an oak or a maple, they may result in a rowan growing as an epiphyte on the larger tree. Such a rowan is called a "flying rowan" and was thought of as especially potent against witches and their magic, and as a counter-charm against sorcery.[19] In 1891, Charles Godfrey Leland also reported traditions of rowan's apotropaic powers against witches in English folklore, citing the Denham Tracts (collected between 1846 and 1859).[20]

In Norse mythology, the goddess Sif is the wife of the thunder god Thor. Sif has been linked with Ravdna, the consort of the Sami thunder-god Horagalles. Red berries of rowan were holy to Ravdna, and the name Ravdna resembles North Germanic words for the tree (for example, Old Norse reynir). According to Skáldskaparmál the rowan is called "the salvation of Thor" because Thor once saved himself by clinging to it. It has been theorized that Sif was once conceived in the form of a rowan to which Thor clung.[21]

In Newfoundland, popular folklore maintains that a heavy crop of fruit means a hard or difficult winter. Similarly, in Finland and Sweden, the number of fruit on the trees was used as a predictor of the snow cover during winter, but here the belief was that the rowan "will not bear a heavy load of fruit and a heavy load of snow in the same year", that is, a heavy fruit crop predicted a winter with little snow. However, as fruit production for a given summer is related to weather conditions the previous summer, with warm, dry summers increasing the amount of stored sugars available for subsequent flower and fruit production, it has no predictive relationship to the weather of the next winter.[22][23] Contrary to the above, in Maalahti, Finland the opposite was thought.[24] If the rowan flowers were plentiful then the rye harvest would also be plentiful. Similarly, if the rowan flowered twice in a year there would be many potatoes and many weddings that autumn. And in Sipoo people are noted as having said that winter had begun when the waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) had eaten the last of the rowan fruit.[25] In Sweden, it was also thought that if the rowan trees grew pale and lost color, the fall and winter would bring much illness.[26]

See also[edit]

Sorbus subgenus Aria
Sorbus subgenus Micromeles
Sorbus subgenus Cormus
Sorbus subgenus Torminaria
Sorbus subgenus Chamaemespilus

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  2. ^ McAllister, H.A. 2005. The genus Sorbus: Mountain Ash and other Rowans . Kew Publishing.
  3. ^ "The Whitty Pear, Sorbus domestica"
  4. ^ Cambridge Botanic Garden: the Genus Sorbus
  5. ^ "The similarities in the physical characteristics of all three types of tree [viz., Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus ornus and Sorbus aucuparia] are pervasive enough that they are confused not only in folk terminology but also in botanical nomenclature". Richard Stoll Shannon, The Arms of Achilles and Homeric Compositional Technique Volume 36 of Mnemosyne, (Brill), 1975, p. 41. The English herbalist John Gerard in 1590 apparently fell victim to just this confusion, equating ornus and quickbeam (see below).
  6. ^ "Witch-hazel" is much more commonly associated with Hamameles.
  7. ^ Abram Smythe Palmer, Folk-etymology : a Dictionary of Verbal Corruptions Or Words Perverted in Form Or Meaning, by False Derivation Or Mistaken Analogy (1882), 443f.
  8. ^ Story, G. M. and Kirwin, W. J. 1990. Dictionary of Newfoundland English. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6819-7.
  9. ^ Vedel, H., & Lange, J. (1960). Trees and Bushes in Wood and Hedgerow. Metheun & Co. Ltd., London.
  10. ^ Henderson, Robert K. (2000). The Neighbourhood Forager: A Guide For The Wild Food Gourmet. Toronto: Key Porter Books. p. 68. ISBN 1-55263-306-3. 
  11. ^ Sorbier des oiseleurs
  12. ^ Wild Food School
  13. ^ O Raspe, C Findlay, AL Jacquemart. Sorbus aucuparia L. The Journal of Ecology, 2000
  14. ^ Trees for Life: Mythology and Folklore of the Rowan
  15. ^ Eyers, Jonathan (2011). Don't Shoot the Albatross!: Nautical Myths and Superstitions. A&C Black, London, UK. ISBN 978-1-4081-3131-2.
  16. ^ Westwood, Jennifer (1985), Albion. A Guide to Legendary Britain. London: Grafton Books. ISBN 0-246-11789-3. p. 257.
  17. ^ Edwin Lees, Pictures of nature in the silurian region around the Malvern hills and vale of Severn, H.W. Lamb, 1856, 274f.
  18. ^ Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, p620, Papermac Edition, 1987, ISBN 0-333-43430-7
  19. ^ Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, p702, Papermac Edition, 1987, ISBN 0-333-43430-7
  20. ^ "The anti-witch rhyme used in Tweedesdale some sixty or seventy years ago [viz. in the 1820s] was: "Black-luggie, lammer bead, rowan-tree and reed thread, put the witches to their speed. [...] I have seen a twig of rowan-tree [...] which had been gathered on the second of May (observe this), wound round with some dozens of yards of red thread, placed visible in the window to act as a charm in keeping witches and Boggle boes from the house." Charles Godfrey Leland, Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling, 1891, p. 198
  21. ^ Turville-Petre, E. O. G. (1964). Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia, p. 98. Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  22. ^ Kobro, S., Søreide, L., Djønne, E., Rafoss, T., Jaastad, G., & Witzgall, P. (2003). Masting of rowan Sorbus aucuparia L. Population Ecology 45 (1): 25-30.
  23. ^ Raspe, O., Findlay, C., & Jacquemart, A. (2000). Sorbus aucuparia. Journal of Ecology 88 (5): 910-930.
  24. ^ Tillhagen, Carl-Herman. (1995). Skogarna och träden: Naturvård i gångna tider. Carlssons bokförlag, Stockholm.
  25. ^ Mannhardt, Wilhelm. (1963). Wald- und Feldkulte. Bd. I. Der Baumkultus der Germanen und ihrer Nachbarstämmes. p. 52. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Verlag
  26. ^ Tillhagen, Carl-Herman. (1995). Skogarna och träden: Naturvård i gånga tider. Carlssons bokförlag, Stockholm
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Sorbus

Sorbus is a genus of about 100–200 species of trees and shrubs in the Rose family Rosaceae. Species of Sorbus (s.l.) are commonly known as whitebeam, rowan, service tree, and mountain-ash. The exact number of species is disputed depending on the circumscription of the genus, and also due to the number of apomictic microspecies, which some treat as distinct species but others group in a smaller number of variable species. Recent treatments [2][3][1][4] treat Sorbus in a narrower sense to include only the pinnate leaved species of subgenus Sorbus, raising several of the other subgenera to generic rank.

Sorbus is unrelated to the true ash trees which belong to the genus Fraxinus, although the leaves are superficially similar.

As treated in its broad sense, the genus is divided into two main and three or four small subgenera (with more recent generic assignments in parentheses):

  • Sorbus subgenus Sorbus (genus Sorbus s.s.), commonly known as the rowan (primarily in the UK) or mountain-ash (in both North America and the UK), with compound leaves usually hairless or thinly hairy below; fruit carpels not fused; type species Sorbus aucuparia (European rowan). Distribution: cool-temperate Northern Hemisphere. (Genus Sorbus s.s.)
  • Sorbus subgenus Aria (genus Aria), the whitebeam, with simple leaves usually strongly white-hairy below (hence the name, from German Weissbaum, 'white tree'); fruit carpels not fused; type species Sorbus aria (common whitebeam). Distribution: temperate Europe & Asia.
  • Sorbus subgenus Micromeles (genus Aria), an indistinct group of a few east Asian species (e.g. Sorbus alnifolia, Korean whitebeam) with narrow leaves; doubtfully distinct from and often included in subgenus Aria. Distribution: temperate northeast Asia.
  • Hybrids are common in the genus, including many between the subgenera; very often these hybrids are apomictic (self-fertile without pollination), so able to reproduce clonally from seed without any variation. This has led to a very large number of microspecies, particularly in western Europe (including Britain) and parts of China.

Sorbus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some moth species—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Sorbus.

Wine[edit]

Sorbus was also a fortified Finnish fruit wine flavoured with rowan berries (sold until August 21, 2010). Sorbus domestica is used to flavour some apple wines, see apfelwein.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b D. Potter, T. Eriksson, R. C. Evans, S. Oh, J. E. E. Smedmark, D. R. Morgan, M. Kerr, K. R. Robertson, M. Arsenault, T. A. Dickinson & C. S. Campbell (2007). "Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae" (PDF). Plant Systematics and Evolution 266 (1–2): 5–43. doi:10.1007/s00606-007-0539-9.  Note that this publication pre-dates the 2011 International Botanical Congress which mandates that the combined subfamily referred to in the paper as Spiraeoideae must be called Amygdaloideae.
  2. ^ Robertson, K. R., J. B. Phipps, J. R. Rohrer, and P. G. Smith. 1991. A Synopsis of Genera in Maloideae (Rosaceae). Systematic Botany 16: 376–394.
  3. ^ McAllister, H. 2005. The Genus Sorbus: Mountain Ash and Other Rowans. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  4. ^ Campbell C. S., R. C. Evans, D. R. Morgan, T. A. Dickinson, and M. P. Arsenault. 2007. Phylogeny of subtribe Pyrinae (formerly the Maloideae, Rosaceae): Limited resolution of a complex evolutionary history. Pl. Syst. Evol. 266: 119–145.

Further reading[edit]

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