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Gough's Rock Whitebeam

Sorbus rupicoloides

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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, 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, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous tree
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
8 metres tall
Cliffs, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Clusters of white flowers.
The fruit is a red berry.
Long, narrow, toothed leaves. Found only at the entrance to Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Sorbus rupicoloides is a species of whitebeam tree in the family Rosaceae, native to Britain and Ireland. It is a small tree, usually reaching a height of no more than 8 metres (26 ft). It has an irregular, spreading crown, with whitish-grey bark and greenish-grey twigs. The leaves are very narrow and oblong-lanceolate in shape, and are a dull green colour with a whitish underside. The flowers are creamy-white, and appear in May and June. The fruit is a red pome, enclosing a single seed. Sorbus rupicoloides is found mainly in limestone gorges and on cliffs, and is a very rare species.


Gough's Rock Whitebeam: An Endangered Species Worth Protecting

Gough's Rock Whitebeam, also known as Sorbus rupicoloides, is a rare species of flowering tree found in only one location in the world, the Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. This tree species, which is part of the rose family, is one of the most endangered tree species in the world, with an estimated population of just 40 to 50 individuals.

The Gough's Rock Whitebeam is a unique tree species, with leaves that are larger and thicker than most whitebeams. This adaptation allows the tree to survive in the harsh and windy environment of Gough Island, where it grows on steep cliffs and rocky outcroppings. The tree is also known for its white flowers, which bloom in the spring and summer, and its small red fruits that provide food for the birds that live on the island.

Despite its rarity, the Gough's Rock Whitebeam is an important species for several reasons. Firstly, it is an indicator of the health of the Gough Island ecosystem, as it is only found in this specific location. Secondly, it is a vital food source for the native birds on the island, including the critically endangered Tristan Albatross. Thirdly, it is a keystone species, meaning that it has a disproportionate impact on its ecosystem relative to its abundance. By providing food and shelter for other species, the Gough's Rock Whitebeam helps to maintain the delicate balance of the Gough Island ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the Gough's Rock Whitebeam is threatened by several factors, including the introduction of invasive species to the island, such as rats and rabbits, which eat the tree's fruits and bark. Climate change is also a threat to the tree species, as rising temperatures and changing weather patterns can affect its ability to survive. In addition, the small population size of the tree makes it susceptible to genetic problems and inbreeding, which can reduce its ability to adapt to changing conditions.

To protect the Gough's Rock Whitebeam and the other unique species that live on Gough Island, conservation efforts are needed. This includes controlling and removing invasive species, monitoring the tree species to track any changes in its population and distribution, and implementing measures to protect the tree from the impacts of climate change.

The Gough's Rock Whitebeam is a remarkable and important tree species that deserves our attention and protection. By conserving this species, we are not only preserving a unique part of the natural world, but we are also ensuring the survival of the many other species that depend on it.

In addition to the conservation efforts mentioned above, it is also important to raise awareness about the Gough's Rock Whitebeam and its unique ecosystem. This can be done through education and outreach programs, such as field trips to Gough Island for researchers, students, and the general public.

Another important aspect of conservation is conducting research to better understand the biology and ecology of the Gough's Rock Whitebeam. This includes studying its growth patterns, reproductive biology, and response to environmental changes, among others. This information can then be used to inform conservation efforts and make decisions that will help to ensure the survival of the species.

It is also crucial to consider the broader context of the conservation of Gough's Rock Whitebeam. This includes recognizing the importance of protecting the entire Gough Island ecosystem, which is home to many other rare and endangered species, as well as the need to address the root causes of climate change and invasive species introductions.

Protecting the Gough's Rock Whitebeam and its unique ecosystem is a complex and challenging task, but one that is essential to ensure the survival of this endangered species and its many dependent species. By working together and taking a comprehensive approach, we can make a difference in the future of Gough's Rock Whitebeam and the island it calls home.

In addition to the efforts outlined above, there are several other strategies that can be used to help protect the Gough's Rock Whitebeam and its ecosystem. One of these strategies is habitat restoration, which involves removing invasive species and planting native vegetation to help the tree species and other species to thrive. This type of effort can be particularly effective in areas where the tree species have been impacted by invasive species or other environmental factors.

Another important strategy is to work with local communities and organizations to promote sustainable land use practices. This can include promoting ecotourism, which can provide an economic incentive for local communities to protect the Gough's Rock Whitebeam and its ecosystem, as well as helping to raise awareness about the species and its importance.

International collaboration is also crucial for the conservation of the Gough's Rock Whitebeam. This includes working with other countries and organizations to implement conservation strategies, share knowledge and resources, and promote cooperation on conservation efforts.

Lastly, it is important to involve youth in the conservation of the Gough's Rock Whitebeam. This can include engaging young people in research, education and outreach efforts, as well as encouraging them to take an active role in conservation efforts. By involving the next generation in the protection of this species, we can ensure that its future is secure for years to come.

In conclusion, the Gough's Rock Whitebeam is a rare and important species that deserves our attention and protection. By implementing a comprehensive approach that involves conservation efforts, research, outreach, and international collaboration, we can ensure that this species and its ecosystem are protected for future generations to enjoy.