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Willmott's Whitebeam

Sorbus wilmottiana

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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, 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, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
9 metres tall
Rocky places, scrub.

White, 5 petals
Clusters of small white flowers. Pink anthers.
The berries are purplish-red.
Broadly oval, even-toothed leaves. Greenish-white on the undersides. Similar in appearance to the Bristol Whitebeam (Sorbus bristoliensis) but the teeth are less jagged. Each leaf has between 8 and 9 veins (occasionally 10) on both sides of the leaf. Fairly upright branches.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Sorbus wilmottiana, also known as the Wilmott's whitebeam, is a species of tree in the rose family. It is native to the United Kingdom, specifically found in the Lake District in England. The tree is a small to medium-sized tree that typically grows to 20-30 ft (6-9 m) in height and is characterized by its white flowers, red berries, and its leaves which are glossy green above and white beneath. It is a relatively rare tree and is considered to be endangered. The tree is named after the botanist and plant explorer Charles Wilmott, who discovered the species in the late 19th century. It is not widely cultivated.


Willmott's Whitebeam (Sorbus wilmottiana) is a rare species of flowering tree native to the United Kingdom. It is a species of rowan or whitebeam, and was named after the botanist E.A. Bowles and his collaborator, George Forrest.

The tree grows to a height of 10 to 15 meters and has a distinctive, narrow crown with drooping branches. Its leaves are oval and have a glossy, dark green appearance on the upper surface and a pale, white appearance on the undersides, giving the tree its name. In spring, it produces clusters of small, white flowers that are followed by red berries in the autumn.

One of the unique features of Willmott's Whitebeam is its tolerance of coastal conditions. It is well adapted to growing in exposed, windy sites and is often found growing on cliffs and rocky outcrops along the coast. This makes it a valuable species for landscaping and coastal restoration projects, particularly in areas where other tree species are unable to thrive.

In terms of conservation, Willmott's Whitebeam is considered to be endangered. It is estimated that there are only around 200 mature trees remaining in the wild, making it one of the rarest trees in the UK. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve this species, including the collection and propagation of seed, and the planting of new trees in appropriate locations.

Despite its rarity, Willmott's Whitebeam is a hardy and attractive tree that is well worth growing. Its tolerance of coastal conditions makes it a valuable species for coastal landscaping and restoration projects, while its unique foliage and small, white flowers make it an attractive and ornamental addition to any garden.

Willmott's Whitebeam is a rare and valuable species of tree that is worth protecting and preserving for future generations. If you are interested in planting this species in your garden, be sure to seek out a reputable supplier of native trees, and make sure that the trees you purchase have been grown from locally sourced seed.

In addition to its ornamental value, Willmott's Whitebeam also provides important habitat for wildlife. Its berries are an important food source for birds and other wildlife, and its leaves and branches provide shelter and nesting sites. The tree is also known to host a number of insect species, including moths, butterflies, and bees, making it an important species for maintaining biodiversity in the ecosystems it inhabits.

Willmott's Whitebeam can be propagated by seed or by cuttings, and is relatively easy to grow. It is a slow-growing tree that prefers well-drained soils, and is best planted in a sunny location. Although it is tolerant of coastal conditions, it is not as salt-tolerant as some other species and should not be planted in areas with high salt spray.

In terms of cultivation, Willmott's Whitebeam is a relatively low-maintenance tree that does not require regular pruning. It is a hardy species that is resistant to pests and diseases, and can be expected to live for several decades, if not centuries, in the right growing conditions.

In conclusion, Willmott's Whitebeam is an important species for the UK's natural heritage, and its conservation is of great importance. It is also a valuable and attractive species for gardeners and landscapers, and is well worth considering for planting in coastal and other exposed locations. Whether grown for its ornamental value, its ecological importance, or simply for its rarity, Willmott's Whitebeam is a tree that deserves recognition and protection.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map