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Mountain Ash

Sorbus aucuparia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
18 metres tall
Gardens, heathland, moorland, mountains, parks, rocky places, towns, woodland.

White, 5 petals
The Mountain Ash, known for its stunning scarlet berries and delicate, creamy-white flowers, is a captivating sight in the British countryside. These elegant blossoms, often appearing in late spring to early summer, adorn the tree's branches with their soft, graceful petals. Their pristine beauty and sweet fragrance attract a variety of pollinators, adding to the vibrant tapestry of the United Kingdom's natural landscape. In contrast to its fiery berries in the autumn, the Mountain Ash's flowers offer a serene and delicate touch to the countryside, making it a cherished part of Britain's flora.
The fruit of the Mountain Ash, distinguished by its vibrant red hue, is a distinctive feature of this iconic British tree. These glossy scarlet berries, often observed in abundance during the autumn season, create a striking contrast against the tree's green foliage. Their plump and inviting appearance, resembling tiny jewels, provides a vital food source for birds and wildlife throughout the UK. The Mountain Ash's fruits not only contribute to the tree's visual appeal but also play a significant role in supporting local ecosystems, making them a cherished symbol of the British countryside.
The leaves of the Mountain Ash, commonly found in the United Kingdom, are characterized by their pinnate arrangement and finely serrated edges. Each leaflet is a lustrous dark green, imparting a rich, verdant canopy to the tree during the growing season. In the autumn, these leaves undergo a spectacular transformation, transitioning into brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, adorning the British landscape with a breathtaking display of autumnal hues. The Mountain Ash's foliage not only adds to the tree's beauty but also serves as a testament to the seasonal splendor that graces the UK countryside each year.
The fragrance of the Mountain Ash is a subtle and delicate scent that graces the British outdoors. The creamy-white flowers of this iconic tree emit a faint, sweet aroma during their bloom in late spring to early summer. While not overpowering, this fragrance adds a gentle note to the natural symphony of the countryside, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. The Mountain Ash's fragrance, though understated, contributes to the overall sensory experience of the British wilderness, enhancing its allure for those who venture into its midst.
Other Names:
Cuirn (in Manx language), Rowan, Witch Wiggin Tree.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sorbus aucuparia, also known as rowan or mountain ash, is a deciduous tree that is native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the rose family and is known for its small, white flowers and clusters of orange-red berries. Sorbus aucuparia is a medium-sized tree that can reach heights of up to 50 feet (15 meters) and is often used as an ornamental tree or in landscaping. It is easy to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types and climates. Sorbus aucuparia prefers full sun and is drought-tolerant once established. The tree is generally hardy and low maintenance, but it can be prone to pests such as aphids and scale insects. Sorbus aucuparia is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used traditionally to treat a variety of ailments. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and to determine the safety and effectiveness of using it medicinally.


Mountain Ash, also known as Sorbus aucuparia, is a deciduous tree that is native to Europe and Asia. It is known for its vibrant red and orange autumn foliage and clusters of white flowers that bloom in the spring.

The tree can reach heights of up to 30 meters and has a broad, round crown. Its leaves are simple and lobed, and its fruit is a small, red or orange pome.

Mountain Ash is a hardy tree that can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and can even grow in poor, rocky soil. It is also tolerant of cold temperatures, making it a popular choice for planting in northern climates.

One of the most unique and attractive features of the Mountain Ash is its fruit. The small, red or orange berries that appear in late summer and early fall are a favorite food of birds and other wildlife. They are also edible for human consumption, but not as commonly consumed as other berries like blueberries or raspberries.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Mountain Ash has a long history of traditional use. The wood is hard and strong, and has been used for furniture, tool handles, and even musical instruments. The tree's bark and berries have also been used for medicinal purposes, and the leaves have been used to make a yellow dye.

Overall, the Mountain Ash is a beautiful, versatile tree that is well-suited for a variety of landscapes and climates. Whether you're looking for a tree to provide fall color, attract wildlife, or simply add interest to your yard, the Mountain Ash is definitely worth considering.

Another important aspect of the Mountain Ash is its role in folklore and mythology. In many cultures, the tree is considered to have mystical properties and is often associated with protection and good luck. It was believed to ward off evil spirits and protect against lightning strikes. In Norse mythology, the ash tree was considered to be the "world tree" and was believed to hold the nine realms of the universe.

Mountain Ash is also a great tree for wildlife, it also supports a diverse range of insects and other invertebrates. The flowers provide nectar for pollinators like bees and butterflies, and the berries are a valuable food source for birds and mammals.

The tree is also commonly used for hedgerows and windbreaks. It is a fast-growing tree and is often used for reforestation and land restoration projects.

In terms of care and maintenance, the Mountain Ash is relatively low-maintenance. It is tolerant of pruning and can be shaped to fit a variety of landscape designs. It is also disease-resistant and pests are not commonly a problem.

It's worth noting that there are several different varieties of Sorbus aucuparia, each with their own unique characteristics and uses. Some popular cultivars include 'Cardinal Royal', which has deep red berries and a more upright growth habit, 'Joseph Rock', which has striking orange-red berries and a compact growth habit, and 'Fastigiata', which has a columnar growth habit and is often used as a small ornamental tree.

The Mountain Ash is also a popular bonsai subject, as its small leaves and delicate branches make it well-suited for miniature landscapes.

In terms of propagation, the tree can be grown from seed or by rooting stem cuttings. It is also possible to propagate the tree by grafting, which allows for the cultivation of specific cultivars.

One thing to keep in mind when planting a Mountain Ash is its eventual size, as it can reach up to 30 meters tall, It may not be the best choice for small gardens or landscapes. It's important to provide it with adequate space to grow and mature.

In summary, the Mountain Ash is a versatile and beautiful tree that can be used in a variety of ways. Its autumn foliage and white flowers, its small red or orange berries, its historical and cultural significance and its support for wildlife make it a valuable addition to any landscape. With proper care and maintenance, it can thrive for many years, providing beauty and interest for generations to come.

It is also worth mentioning that the Mountain Ash is also commonly used in landscaping for its ornamental value. The tree's vibrant red and orange autumn foliage, clusters of white flowers in spring, and red or orange berries in late summer and early fall, make it a popular choice for adding color and interest to yards and gardens.

Another benefit of the Mountain Ash is its ability to provide shade and shelter. Its broad, round crown and dense foliage make it an excellent choice for providing shade in the summer, and its dense branches can also provide shelter and protection for wildlife.

The Mountain Ash is also a great choice for urban environments, as it is tolerant of pollution and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions. It is also a relatively low-maintenance tree, making it a great choice for busy homeowners.

In terms of pests and diseases, the Mountain Ash is relatively resistant to most common tree pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to fire blight, a bacterial disease that causes blackened leaves and twigs. It is also worth noting that the berries are toxic to humans if ingested in large quantities, so it is important to be cautious when planting the tree in areas where children and pets may be present.

Overall, the Mountain Ash is a valuable addition to any landscape, providing ornamental value, shade, and shelter, and supporting wildlife. With its hardiness and low-maintenance requirements, it is a great choice for both urban and rural environments.


Video 1: Mountain Ash filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 9th July 2022.


Video 2: The Mountain Ash tree filmed in the following locations:
  • Pennington Flash, Lancashire: 22nd April 2023
  • Duxbury Gardens, Lancashire: 12th May 2023
  • Foulshaw Moss, Cumbria: 13th May 2023

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Distribution Map

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