Open the Advanced Search

Bastard Service Tree

Sorbus x thuringiaca

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.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


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

White, 5 petals
Clusters of white flowers.
Clusters of bright red berries.
Dark green and shiny, oval to elliptic, stalked and lobed leaves. The leaves turn orange or yellow in autumn. Bastard Service Tree is a hybrid between Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) and Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria).
Other Names:
Hybrid Whitebeam, Oak-leaf Mountain Ash, Sorb Apple, Thuringian Rowan.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Sorbus x thuringiaca, also known as Thuringian Rowan or Sorb Apple, is a hybrid tree that is a cross between Sorbus aria and Sorbus torminalis. It's native to Europe and it's a deciduous tree that typically grows to be about 15-25 meters tall, has a broad-rounded canopy and has leaves which are alternate and simple. The tree produces small, white or pink flowers that grow in clusters, and it bears small, red or yellow-orange berries. The tree is known for its hard, durable wood, which is used for making furniture and tool handles, and the fruit is also edible and can be used to make jams, jellies and cider. It is also cultivated as an ornamental tree and it is known for its medicinal properties, in traditional medicine it is used as a treatment for various ailments, including diarrhea and fever.


The Bastard Service Tree, scientifically known as Sorbus x thuringiaca, is a beautiful deciduous tree that belongs to the rose family. It is a hybrid species of the rowan tree (Sorbus aucuparia) and the whitebeam tree (Sorbus aria), and it is a popular ornamental tree that is widely grown in gardens and parks.

One of the most striking features of the Bastard Service Tree is its beautiful foliage. The leaves are oval-shaped, with a serrated edge, and are a glossy dark green colour. In the autumn, the leaves turn a beautiful golden-yellow, creating a stunning display of colour. The tree also produces small, fragrant white flowers in the spring, which are followed by small red berries that ripen in the autumn.

The Bastard Service Tree is a hardy tree that is well-suited to a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soil, but will tolerate a wide range of soil types, including clay and sandy soils. It also grows well in full sun or partial shade, making it a versatile tree for gardens and parks.

One of the reasons why the Bastard Service Tree is so popular is because it is a relatively low-maintenance tree. It requires very little pruning, and is generally disease and pest-resistant. However, it is important to keep an eye out for aphids, which can occasionally infest the tree.

The Bastard Service Tree is also an important tree for wildlife. The berries are a source of food for birds, and the tree provides a habitat for a wide range of insects and other small animals.

In terms of its cultural significance, the Bastard Service Tree has a long history in European folklore and mythology. In many cultures, the rowan tree was considered a sacred tree that provided protection from evil spirits. The Bastard Service Tree was often planted near churches and other religious sites, as it was believed to have the power to ward off evil.

Overall, the Bastard Service Tree is a beautiful and versatile tree that is well-suited to a wide range of growing conditions. Whether you are looking for a tree to plant in your garden or a park, the Bastard Service Tree is an excellent choice that will provide many years of beauty and enjoyment.

The history of the Bastard Service Tree is also quite interesting. The tree was first recorded in the 17th century in the Thuringian Forest in Germany, where it was found growing in the wild. It is believed that the tree is a hybrid between the rowan tree and the whitebeam tree, which are both native to Europe. The hybridization of these two trees may have occurred naturally or through human intervention, such as intentional breeding.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Bastard Service Tree has also been used for its wood. The wood is hard and durable, and has been used for a variety of purposes, including furniture, tools, and musical instruments.

Despite its name, the Bastard Service Tree is not actually a "bastard" in the traditional sense of the word. In horticulture, the term "bastard" is often used to describe a plant that is a hybrid between two different species. The Bastard Service Tree is a hybrid, but it is not a "bastard" in the negative sense of the word.

In terms of cultivation, the Bastard Service Tree is easy to propagate from seed or cuttings. The tree is also widely available from nurseries and garden centers. If you are considering planting a Bastard Service Tree in your garden or park, be sure to choose a suitable location that provides adequate space for the tree to grow to its full size.

The Bastard Service Tree is a beautiful and fascinating tree that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. With its striking foliage, fragrant flowers, and delicious berries, it is sure to be a valuable addition to any garden or park.

Another interesting fact about the Bastard Service Tree is that it has a long history of medicinal use. The tree's leaves, bark, and berries have been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and skin conditions. The berries are high in vitamin C and other beneficial compounds, and are often used to make jams, jellies, and other culinary treats.

In some cultures, the Bastard Service Tree has also been associated with fertility and childbirth. The tree was often planted near homes and in courtyards to bring good luck and ensure the health and well-being of pregnant women and newborns.

In recent years, the Bastard Service Tree has become an important tree for conservation efforts. In many parts of Europe, the tree is under threat from habitat loss, disease, and climate change. As a result, efforts are being made to protect and conserve the tree, including the establishment of conservation areas and the propagation of the tree in nurseries.

Finally, the Bastard Service Tree is an excellent example of the diversity and beauty of the natural world. It is a testament to the amazing ways in which nature can create new life through hybridization and adaptation. As we continue to face environmental challenges and threats to biodiversity, it is important to remember the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world, and the incredible beauty and wonder that it holds.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map