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Irish Whitebeam

Sorbus hibernica

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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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, 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, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 metres tall
Cliffs, grassland, hedgerows, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, scrub, waterside, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Clusters of white flowers with pinkish anthers.
Pinkish-orange berries, usually wider than long. Ripening in September and October.
Roundish, evenly toothed (except at the base), silvery-white, stalkless leaves. 9 to 11 pairs of veins. Found almost exclusively in Ireland.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sorbus hibernica, also known as the Irish whitebeam, is an endemic Irish tree species closely related to Sorbus aria and S. rupicola. It is a deciduous tree or shrub which can reach up to 20m tall, and is characterized by its oval, densely toothed leaves which are whitish-hairy beneath. It is a very variable species, and is mainly found in moist, rocky habitats in scattered locations throughout Ireland.


The Irish Whitebeam (Sorbus hibernica) is a deciduous tree that is native to the island of Ireland. This species is a member of the rose family and is known for its striking beauty, making it a popular choice for gardens and parks.

The Irish Whitebeam can grow up to 20 meters in height and has a rounded crown that spreads out as it grows. It has dark green leaves that are oblong in shape and slightly serrated along the edges. The leaves are glossy and have a smooth texture, making them an attractive feature of the tree even when it is not in bloom.

In the spring, the Irish Whitebeam produces clusters of white flowers that are arranged in clusters of five to seven flowers. These flowers are small and have a sweet fragrance, attracting a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies. After the flowers have bloomed, they are replaced by small, bright red berries that are edible and enjoyed by birds and other wildlife.

One of the most distinctive features of the Irish Whitebeam is its bark. The bark is a deep, almost black color, and has a rough texture that is covered in small, raised bumps. This makes the tree easy to identify and adds an interesting textural element to the landscape.

The Irish Whitebeam is known for its hardiness and adaptability. It is able to tolerate a variety of soils, including heavy clay soils, and can grow in both full sun and partial shade. This makes it an ideal choice for planting in areas that receive little sunlight, such as the base of buildings or under other trees.

In conclusion, the Irish Whitebeam is a beautiful and versatile tree that is well-suited to a variety of landscapes. Its striking appearance and hardiness make it a popular choice for parks and gardens, and its ability to grow in a variety of conditions means that it can be enjoyed by gardeners of all levels of experience.

The Irish Whitebeam is also known for its ecological importance. It is a host plant for several species of moths and butterflies, providing a source of food and habitat for these important insects. Additionally, the berries produced by the tree provide a valuable food source for birds, especially during the winter months when other food sources may be scarce.

In terms of its cultural significance, the Irish Whitebeam has been associated with the folklore and mythology of Ireland for centuries. It is said to have been used by the ancient Celts for making wooden bowls, spoons, and other household items. The tree's tough, durable wood was also prized for its use in construction, especially in the building of ships and boats.

Despite its cultural and ecological importance, the Irish Whitebeam is considered to be a rare and threatened species. Its natural range has been reduced due to deforestation and habitat loss, and it is estimated that only a few hundred mature trees remain in the wild. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and preserve this species, including planting programs and the creation of protected habitats.

In cultivation, the Irish Whitebeam is relatively easy to care for. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and can be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer in the spring. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring to control the tree's shape and size. With proper care, the Irish Whitebeam can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The Irish Whitebeam is a unique and beautiful tree that is an important part of Ireland's cultural heritage and ecological landscape. Its rarity and threatened status make it a valuable species to protect and preserve, and its versatility and adaptability make it an ideal choice for gardens and parks. If you have the opportunity to plant an Irish Whitebeam, take advantage of it – you'll be rewarded with a beautiful tree that will provide years of enjoyment.

Another notable feature of the Irish Whitebeam is its longevity. It is a slow-growing tree but can live for over a hundred years, making it a long-lasting addition to any landscape. Its longevity, combined with its beauty, make it an ideal choice for memorial gardens or parks dedicated to preserving the memory of loved ones.

In terms of its ornamental value, the Irish Whitebeam is a great choice for those who love unique and unusual trees. Its dark green leaves, white flowers, and red berries make it a standout in any garden, and its rough, black bark adds a touch of texture and interest. When in bloom, it provides a stunning display of white flowers that light up the landscape, making it a great choice for spring gardens.

Finally, the Irish Whitebeam is a great choice for gardeners who want to promote biodiversity in their gardens. By providing food and habitat for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, this tree can help to create a thriving ecosystem in your garden. This is not only good for the environment, but also provides a great opportunity for nature lovers to observe and enjoy the rich variety of wildlife that can be attracted to your garden.

In conclusion, the Irish Whitebeam is a tree that is both beautiful and practical. Its adaptability, versatility, and ecological importance make it an ideal choice for any gardener who wants to promote biodiversity, create a stunning landscape, and enjoy a tree that will last for generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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