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Ley's Whitebeam

Sorbus leyana

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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, 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:
10 metres tall
Mountains, rocky places, scrub, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Clusters of white flowers. Pinkish anthers.
Red berries, slightly wider than long and widest below the middle. The berries become blood red when mature. A few small scars (lenticels) are present on the surfaces of the berries.
The leaves are broadly oval with deep, hawthorn-like lobes. They are greyish beneath. This tree is best distinguished by its lateral rosette leaves which reach about 10.5cm in length and 8cm in width. The leaves have between 7 and 11 pairs of veins. Ley's Whitebeam is possibly Britain's rarest species of Whitebeam.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Sorbus leyana is a species of whitebeam tree that is native to the Pyrenees, in Spain and France. It is a small deciduous tree, which grows up to 10 meters in height. The leaves are narrow and elongated, with a glossy green upper surface and a pale underside. The tree produces clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by small red berries in the fall. It is considered a rare species and is protected under European law. It is found in high altitude mountainous areas and rocky outcrops.


Ley's Whitebeam: A Unique and Rare Tree Species

Ley's Whitebeam, also known as Sorbus leyana, is a rare and unique species of tree that is native to the UK. It is a small tree that grows to a height of around 10 meters and is characterized by its distinctive white flowers and leaves. The tree is named after the late Dr. Brian Ley, a renowned botanist and specialist in the Sorbus genus.

The Ley's Whitebeam is a deciduous tree that is part of the rose family and is found primarily in the Welsh mountains. It is a slow-growing tree that requires a well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight to thrive. The tree produces small, white flowers in the spring, which are followed by clusters of red berries in the autumn. The leaves of the tree are also unique, being oval-shaped with a serrated edge and a distinctive white underside.

One of the most notable features of the Ley's Whitebeam is its rarity. The tree is considered to be one of the rarest species of trees in the UK and is listed as endangered. This is due to several factors, including habitat loss, disease, and a lack of genetic diversity. To help conserve the species, the UK government has implemented conservation measures, such as creating reserves and planting new trees.

In addition to its rarity, the Ley's Whitebeam is also known for its unique appearance and ornamental value. The tree's white flowers and red berries make it a popular choice for gardens and parks. The tree is also a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts due to its slow-growing nature and attractive form.

The Ley's Whitebeam is a unique and rare species of tree that is well worth conserving. Its rarity, beauty, and ornamental value make it a valuable addition to any garden or park. If you are interested in learning more about the Ley's Whitebeam, or if you are interested in planting one in your own garden, there are many resources available online.

The Ley's Whitebeam is also known for its ecological importance. As a native species, it plays a crucial role in supporting the local ecosystem by providing food and habitat for a variety of wildlife. Birds, for example, feed on the tree's red berries, while insects and other pollinators rely on the tree's flowers for nectar. The tree is also a valuable source of genetic material for plant breeders, who are working to develop new species of trees that are more resilient to disease, pests, and changing climate conditions.

In addition to its ecological importance, the Ley's Whitebeam has cultural significance as well. The tree has been associated with folklore and legends for centuries, and is mentioned in several Welsh poems and songs. In recent years, the tree has become a symbol of Welsh identity and is considered a part of the country's heritage.

In order to protect the Ley's Whitebeam and ensure its survival for future generations, it is important to continue conservation efforts. This includes planting new trees, maintaining existing populations, and monitoring the health of the species. It is also important to educate people about the significance of the tree and the importance of preserving it.

The Ley's Whitebeam is a truly remarkable tree species that is well worth preserving. With its rarity, beauty, ecological significance, and cultural significance, it is a valuable part of the UK's natural and cultural heritage. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, the Ley's Whitebeam is a tree that is definitely worth getting to know.

Another important aspect to consider in protecting the Ley's Whitebeam is its genetic diversity. The tree's rarity is partly due to the fact that it has limited genetic diversity, which makes it more vulnerable to disease and other threats. To help increase the tree's genetic diversity, conservationists are working to collect and store seeds from different populations. This will allow them to create new populations of the tree that are more resilient and better equipped to withstand future challenges.

It is also important to protect the habitats where the Ley's Whitebeam grows. The tree is native to the Welsh mountains, where it grows in rocky, well-drained soils. This habitat is threatened by a variety of factors, including land development, climate change, and pollution. To protect the tree and its habitat, it is important to limit these threats and implement conservation measures such as creating reserves and restoring degraded habitats.

In addition to conservation efforts, it is important to promote the Ley's Whitebeam and raise awareness about its significance. This can be done by sharing information about the tree, displaying it in public gardens and parks, and encouraging people to plant it in their own gardens. By raising awareness about the Ley's Whitebeam, we can help to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy this rare and beautiful species of tree.

In conclusion, the Ley's Whitebeam is a unique and valuable species of tree that deserves our attention and protection. By working together to conserve the tree and its habitat, increase its genetic diversity, and promote its significance, we can help ensure that this rare and beautiful species will thrive for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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