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Rowan, Types and Species Names of Mountain-ash Trees

Picture of a Rowan Tree
European Rowan Fruit berries pomes
European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia). © 2005 Samuel Lindeman, Picture use (cc2)
Rowan Flowers (Sorbus aucuaria)
Flowers of European Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

Rowan Trees are part of the genus Sorbus, subgenus Sorbus. Rowan trees form most of this group, and a few species in North America locally known as "Mountain-ash" (but not related to the Ash Trees) make up the rest of this group (Sorbus, subgenus Sorbus). Most Rowans are small flowering deciduous trees 10 to 20 m (33' to 66') tall, some species like Dwarf Rowan Sorbus reducta grow as shrubs however.

Types of Rowan;

Some well known species of Rowan include; European rowan Sorbus aucuparia, and Japanese Rowan Sorbus commixta (Japanese: ナナカマド (七竈)).
Some well known species of Mountain-ash include; American Mountain-ash Sorbus americana, Showy Mountain-ash Sorbus decora, Sitka Mountain-ash Sorbus sitchensis.

Rowan Leaves, Flowers and Fruit;
The leaves of Rowan and Mountain-ash trees are arranged alternately, are pinnate, with (7-)11-35 leaflets, and a terminal leaflet is always present. Flowers of the Rowan trees are borne in dense corymbs, flowers have five cream white petals, about 5 to 10 mm (0,13⁄64" to 0,25⁄64") across. Rowan fruit is a small pome 4 to 8 mm (0,5⁄32" to 0,5⁄16") in diameter. The pome colors vary among species, most are bright orange or red, others are pink or yellow, and some Asian species are white. Rowan fruit are juicy and soft, making them very attractive food for birds.

Uses for Rowan Trees

Rowans do well as small ornamental trees for landscaping parks, gardens, avenues, boulevards and wildlife areas. These trees are very attractive to fruit-eating birds, so bear in mind that you will have birds visiting these trees frequently if you use them.

Ornamental looks;
Some popular types of Rowan include the Chinese native species, such as Sargent's rowan (Sorbus sargentiana) for its exceptionally large clusters of fruit, and White-fruited rowan (Sorbus glabrescens) for their unusual fruit color.
Many cultivars have also been selected for landscaping use, for example the yellow-fruited Sorbus 'Joseph Rock'.

Facts about Rowan Trees
  • Genus Latin Scientific Name = Sorbus
  • Subgenus name = Sorbus
  • Subgenus Common Names = Rowan, Mountain-ash, Wicken-tree, Bird catcher, Witchbane, Witch wood, Wiggin and Round tree
  • Number of Taxa in genus Sorbus subgenus Sorbus = 55. List of Rowan Hybrids
List of Rowan Trees, genus; Sorbus subgenus; Sorbus; - All known species, taxa, organized by scientific Latin botanical name first and common names second
List of Rowan and Mountain-ash Tree Species Names
Botanical Tree NameCommon Tree Name
Sorbus amabilis Chinese: 黄山花楸; pinyin: Huángshān huāqiū; ( in English; Huangshan Rowan )
Sorbus americana American mountain-ash
Sorbus aucuparia European rowan
Sorbus californica ¡ ?
Sorbus cashmiriana Kashmir rowan
Sorbus commixta Japanese rowan, (Japanese; ナナカマド or ナナカマド(七竈))
Sorbus decora Showy mountain-ash
Sorbus esserteauiana Esserteau's rowan
Sorbus fosteri ¡ ?
Sorbus fruticosa ¡ ?
Sorbus glabrescens White-fruited rowan
Sorbus harrowiana Harrow rowan
Sorbus hupehensis Hubei rowan
Sorbus insignis ¡ ?
Sorbus khumbuensis ¡ ?
Sorbus koehneana ¡ ?
Sorbus lanataa ¡ ?
Sorbus matsumurana ¡ ?
Sorbus maderensis Madeira rowan
Sorbus microphylla Small-leaf rowan
Sorbus oligodonta Kite-leaf rowan
Sorbus pallescens ¡ ?
Sorbus pekinensis ¡ ?
Sorbus pinnatifida ¡ ?
Sorbus pluripinnata ¡ ?
Sorbus pohuashanensis ¡ ?
Sorbus pontica ¡ ?
Sorbus poteriifolia ¡ ?
Sorbus prattii ¡ ?
Sorbus pseudovilmorinii ¡ ?
Sorbus pygmaea ¡ ?
Sorbus randaiensis ¡ ?
Sorbus redliana ¡ ?
Sorbus reducta Dwarf rowan
Sorbus rehderiana ¡ ?
Sorbus retroflexis ¡ ?
Sorbus rockii ¡ ?
Sorbus rotundifolia ¡ ?
Sorbus rufo-ferruginea ¡ ?
Sorbus rufopilosa Tsema rowan
Sorbus sargentiana Sargent's rowan
Sorbus scalaris Ladder rowan
Sorbus scopulina; See below;
Sorbus scopulina var. scopulina Greene mountain-ash
Sorbus scopulina var. cascadensis Cascade mountain-ash
Sorbus simonkaiana ¡ ?
Sorbus sitchensis Sitka mountain-ash
Sorbus stankovii ¡ ?
Sorbus taurica ¡ ?
Sorbus ursina ¡ ?
Sorbus vertesensis ¡ ?
Sorbus vestita ¡ ?
Sorbus vilmorinii Vilmorin's rowan
Sorbus wardii ¡ ?
Sorbus wilfordii ¡ ?

Rowan Hybrids

Rowan trees naturally produce numerous hybrids, amongst themselves and with the Whitebeam trees (these are variably intermediate between their parents but generally more resemble Whitebeam trees and are usually listed with them). Some hybrids between Rowan and Whitebeam trees will start behaving as true species reproducing by apomixis.

Recommended Books About Trees;

Trees of India

Trees of India

By Pippa Mukherjee