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Introducing Sorbus


Sorbus is a genus of over 100+ species of trees and shrubs in the rose family and contains apples! Common names for species of Sorbus are Rowan, Mountain Ash and Whitebeam. Here at Bowhayes Trees, we have several different varieties of Sorbus.

So why are we so keen on Sorbus? Well, for lots of reasons, but the first is that Rowan, for example, is native, and it will tolerate pretty much any soil and most weather conditions, so it's right up there in the hardy, tough-as-old boots category!

Sorbus have the most delightful fruits that can range in colour from red, orange, and yellow, and a favourite of ours, Sorbus hupehensis 'Pink Pagoda', which, funnily enough, are pink! Berries appear through summer and autumn, making these truly beautiful trees whilst also providing a valuable source of food to birds, especially favoured by thrushes and other bigger songbirds. In spring, the branches are adorned with creamy white flower heads that are arranged in flat, branched clusters, perfect for attracting pollinators. One from our collection, Sorbus 'Pseudovilmorinii', is a wonderful specimen for attracting much-loved bees and many other pollinating insects.

In addition to choosing a Sorbus for its colourful bunches of fruits, it's also worth mentioning the amazingly striking, fiery foliage that Rowans and Whitebeams have in autumn; it's actually noteworthy! We're huge fans of Sorbus 'Joseph Rock' for its unusual yellow berries, particularly show-stopping autumnal colours. Likewise, if it's interesting summer foliage colour you're after, then Whitebeam ticks the box with its pretty blue and grey hues. In particular, Sorbus aria 'Lutescens' is a graceful variety with grey-green leaves and a creamy white underside.. it would make a wonderful summer wedding gift.

We may have just ended your search if you're looking for a tree that would be perfect for a smaller garden! Rowan trees grow relatively quickly, and most are of modest size, reaching heights of up to 4m in ten years. They are particularly good for limited spaces because they're relatively upright and need very little maintenance; actually, let's be more specific, they need nothing! It's also worth mentioning that Sorbus are ideal for town gardens as they're tolerant of urban pollution. Give your garden a spectacular focal point with either a Sorbus 'Chinese Lace' or a Sorbus 'Olympic Flame', both of which can be found in our nursery.

To sum it up, these trees are going to provide fruits, flowers and stunning foliage for three out of four seasons for absolutely nothing in return! What more could you possibly want from a garden tree?

However, we can't finish without mentioning that Rowan is steeped in mythical history and protective powers, and the further North you travel, the stronger the association. Its Celtic name means wizards' tree, which was planted outside houses to protect people from witches! So, if you happen to be worried about any wizard or witch-like neighbours, we highly recommend going for a Rowan with red fruits, as these were believed to have the best protection against magic!

To learn more about how to care for your trees, call the team on 01404 8122229 or email us at

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