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Somerset Whitebeam

Sorbus subcuneata

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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 Ash, 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, 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:
12 metres tall
Gardens, parks, woodland.

White, 5 petals
White flowers with pink anthers.
Globular, orange-brown fruit.
Narrowly, oval, pointed leaves that are roughly twice as long as broad. Greyish beneath. Leaf margins have both small and large teeth.
Other Names:
Japanese Whitebeam.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Sorbus subcuneata, also known as the Japanese Whitebeam, is a species of tree in the Rosaceae family. It is native to Japan, Korea, and eastern China. The tree can grow up to 12 meters tall and is known for its white flowers and red berries. The leaves are oval and have a pale underside. This tree is grown as an ornamental tree and is often used in parks and gardens. It is also used in landscaping, and is a popular choice as a street tree. It is also used in bonsai cultivation.


Somerset Whitebeam (Sorbus subcuneata) is a unique and endangered tree species found in the UK. It is an ancient and uncommon species, growing in only a few isolated places in the country, mainly in Somerset, England. The tree is known for its distinctive white bark and is considered one of the rarest species of whitebeam trees in the UK.

This tree species has a relatively small stature, reaching a maximum height of 10 meters, with a narrow and upright growth habit. Its leaves are oval-shaped and slightly serrated, with a shiny and dark green appearance. In the spring, the tree produces small white flowers, followed by attractive red berries in the autumn.

The Somerset Whitebeam is a keystone species, playing an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of its ecosystem. It supports a range of insects and other wildlife, including several species of moths and butterflies, and provides food and shelter for birds such as the mistle thrush.

Unfortunately, the Somerset Whitebeam is facing several threats, including habitat destruction and the effects of climate change. The species is also vulnerable to disease and pests, which can cause significant damage to the tree and its ecosystem. In recognition of its importance, the Somerset Whitebeam is protected under UK law and is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve this rare and valuable species. These include habitat restoration, monitoring and research, and awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of the Somerset Whitebeam.

The Somerset Whitebeam is a unique and valuable tree species, essential for maintaining the biodiversity of its ecosystem. With the help of conservation efforts, we can ensure that this rare and beautiful species continues to thrive for generations to come.

Additionally, the Somerset Whitebeam also has cultural and historical significance. It has been used for centuries as a source of food and medicine by local communities, and its distinctive appearance has made it a popular subject for artists and writers.

The wood of the Somerset Whitebeam is also highly valued, being strong, durable and attractive. In the past, it was used for a range of purposes, including building and furniture making. Today, the wood is mainly used for decorative purposes, such as carving and turning.

However, the use of the tree for commercial purposes must be carefully managed to ensure that it does not have a negative impact on the species. Sustainable harvesting practices, such as selective felling, are important for preserving the Somerset Whitebeam and its ecosystem.

Another important aspect of conservation is the genetic diversity of the Somerset Whitebeam population. Inbreeding can lead to a decline in the species' ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, so it is important to maintain a diverse gene pool to ensure the long-term survival of the species. Conservation organizations and researchers are working to understand the genetic diversity of the Somerset Whitebeam population and to develop strategies to protect and enhance it.

The Somerset Whitebeam is a species that deserves our attention and protection. Its unique appearance, ecological significance, cultural and historical importance, and valuable wood make it a valuable and irreplaceable part of our natural heritage. With careful management and conservation efforts, we can ensure that the Somerset Whitebeam continues to thrive for generations to come.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning the role of public involvement in the conservation of the Somerset Whitebeam. The public can play an important role in protecting and preserving this rare species by supporting conservation organizations and spreading awareness about the importance of the Somerset Whitebeam.

For example, individuals can participate in habitat restoration projects and participate in citizen science initiatives that help researchers understand the species better. People can also help by avoiding activities that can harm the tree and its habitat, such as littering, damaging trees, and spreading invasive plant species.

In addition, supporting sustainable forestry practices and choosing to use sustainably sourced products can help protect the Somerset Whitebeam and its habitat. By making informed choices and taking action, we can help ensure that this unique and valuable species continues to thrive.

In conclusion, the Somerset Whitebeam is a unique and valuable tree species that deserves our protection and preservation. With the help of conservation organizations, researchers, and the public, we can work to ensure the long-term survival of this rare and endangered species and maintain its contribution to the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the UK.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map