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Sorbus

Mountain Ash
Rosaceae
Deciduous, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

These natives of mountainous areas are valued for showy flowers and showier fruit. Blossoms are grouped in broad, flat clusters that are scattered over the foliage canopy in spring; they develop into hanging clusters of small, berrylike fruit that colors up in late summer or early autumn. Most species have red or orange-red fruit, but white, pink, and golden forms are occasionally available. Birds feed on the fruit, but usually not until after leaves have fallen. Foliage is typically finely cut and somewhat fernlike, though some less widely planted species have undivided leaves.

Sorbus americana, photo courtesy of David Cavagnaro
Sorbus americana, photo courtesy of David Cavagnaro

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Sorbus americana

Tree orshrub. From easternNorth America. To 10–30 ft.tall and wide. Dark green leaveswith paler undersides reach10 in. long, consist of 11 to17 leaflets; turn yellow in fall.Orange-red fruit. This species isvery hardy and tolerates dampsoil, but it is not the choicest ofmountain ashes. ‘Red Cascade’is an attractive variety with anoval crown and compact growthto 16 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide.

Sorbus aucuparia
Sorbus aucuparia

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Sorbus aucuparia

Native to Europe to western Asia and Siberia; naturalized in North America. To 20–40 ft. tall (or taller), 15–25 ft.wide. Sharply rising branches form a dense, oval to round crown. Leaves are 5–9 in. long,with 9–15 leaflets; they are dull green above, gray green below, turning tawny yellow to reddish in autumn. Orange-red fruit.

Sorbus scopulina

Native towestern North America. To 3–15 ft. tall and wide, often withreddish bark. Leaves to 2 1/2 in.long, with up to 15 deeplytoothed leaflets; shiny darkgreen above, paler beneath.Orange-red fall color. Orangeto bright red fruit.

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