Rowan, European Mountain Ash

Sorbus aucuparia

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sorbus (sor-bus) (Info)
Species: aucuparia (awk-yoo-PAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Sorbus aucuparia var. dulcis
Synonym:Sorbus aucuparia var. edulis
Synonym:Sorbus glabrata
Synonym:Pyrus aucuparia



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Pollen may cause allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

By grafting

By budding

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Isle, Minnesota

Bend, Oregon

Lake Oswego, Oregon

Vancouver, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 11, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This species used to be somewhat commonly planted in the Chicago, IL, region in the 1950's into the 1970's, in USDA zone 5a. It was a pretty plant, but like white-barked birch species, it would be stressed by the hot, dry summers. Thus, it would live about 15 to 20 years until it was killed by borers. The European White Birch is the same way. Mountain-ashes thrive in regions where the summers don't get really hot and/or dry, as in the Northwoods. I've only seen one growing so far in the Philadelphia, PA, region.


On May 2, 2004, mostar from Sudbury Ontario

The tree is subject to having a ring cluster of eggs that encircle a branch once hatched could create problems. Where possible remove by hand and burn otherwise consult local authorities as to what type of spray you are allowed to use in your area.
John Kozlich


On Feb 11, 2003, cooked from Buriram
Thailand (Zone 11) wrote:

Myths: in the dairy, butter churns and other objects coming into contact with milk, were sometimes made of rowan wood, supposedly to prevent the milk turning (going sour). There may be some scientific support for this superstition.


On Oct 1, 2001, Baa wrote:

A conical shaped tree native to Europe and Asia.

Has pinnate, mid-dark green, toothed, lance shaped leaves which have red and yellow Autumn colours. Bears corymbs (5 inch across) of small white flowers with prominant stamens. In Autumn it bears small, round, red berries. The whole tree looks very delicate and slender.

Flowers April-June.

Prefers neutral to acid, well drained, humus rich soil in full sun or dappled shade.

The berries are very attractive to small birds and the flowers carry nectar which the bees love so its a useful wildlife garden tree (space permitting).

The berries are edible (always make sure you have the correct identification) and sometimes used to make some vodkas, ales, wines and a jam.
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