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Common Whitebeam

Sorbus aria

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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, 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:
10 metres tall
Cliffs, gardens, hedgerows, mountains, parks, rocky places, scrub, towns, woodland.

White, 5 petals
The Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) produces clusters of creamy white flowers during the spring season in the United Kingdom. These blossoms are fragrant and typically appear in dense bunches, creating a beautiful contrast against the dark green foliage of the tree. The flowers, with their delicate and elegant appearance, serve as an essential food source for pollinators and mark the beginning of the tree's reproductive cycle.
The fruit of the Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) in the United Kingdom appears as small, round, and vibrant red berries. These berries develop after the flowering stage, usually maturing in late summer or early autumn. They are an important food source for various bird species and add a colorful and attractive element to the tree, contrasting against its dark green foliage before the leaves change color in the autumn.
The leaves of the Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) in the United Kingdom are typically oval-shaped with serrated edges. They boast a dark green hue during the spring and summer seasons. As autumn approaches, these leaves transform into vibrant shades of red, orange, or sometimes yellow, creating a picturesque display before they fall from the tree. The leaves provide a striking contrast against the tree's white blossoms and later the red berries, enhancing the tree's visual appeal throughout the changing seasons.
The Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) in the United Kingdom does not have a distinct or strong aroma associated with its flowers or leaves. The blossoms of the tree are usually delicate and may have a light, sweet fragrance, but it's not particularly strong or noticeable. Similarly, the leaves typically do not emit any notable scent. Overall, the tree is not primarily known for having a distinctive or strong aroma.
Other Names:
Beam Tree, Chess Apple, White Beam Tree, Whitebeam.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Sorbus aria, commonly known as the whitebeam, is a species of tree in the rose family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia. It is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree, typically reaching 20-30 feet in height. The leaves are oval-shaped, with serrated edges and a glossy green upper surface. The tree produces clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by red or orange berries in the fall. Whitebeam is a popular ornamental tree, valued for its attractive leaves and fruit. It is also used in some traditional medicine practices.


Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a deciduous tree species native to Europe, and is known for its attractive white flowers and bright red fruit. The tree can grow up to 15 meters tall, and its leaves are lobed and have a distinctive white underside. This makes the tree a popular choice for landscaping, especially as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.

The white flowers of the Common Whitebeam tree appear in clusters in May and June, and are followed by the bright red fruit in the autumn. The fruit is a popular food source for birds, including thrushes and waxwings. The tree's leaves turn yellow in the fall, adding to its seasonal interest.

Common Whitebeam is a hardy tree and can tolerate a wide range of soils, from well-drained to wet and heavy. It is also able to tolerate exposure to coastal winds and salt spray. This makes it a popular choice for coastal planting, and the tree can often be seen growing along the cliffs and beaches of the UK.

The tree is also relatively resistant to pests and diseases, and is easy to grow, making it a popular choice for urban planting schemes. The wood of the Common Whitebeam tree is also valuable for its durability and strength, and is often used for furniture making and construction purposes.

Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a versatile and attractive tree species that is well suited to a variety of planting locations and conditions. Its bright white flowers, red fruit, and yellow autumn leaves make it a popular choice for ornamental planting, while its hardiness, resistance to pests and diseases, and ease of growth make it a valuable addition to any urban or coastal landscape.

Common Whitebeam is also an important tree species for wildlife. The flowers provide an important source of nectar for pollinators, and the fruit is an important food source for birds. The tree is also a popular roosting site for birds and provides important nesting sites for many bird species.

The Common Whitebeam tree is also a valuable source of genetic diversity for other Sorbus species, and has been used in breeding programs to develop new ornamental and fruit-bearing varieties. The tree is also an important component of many ecosystems, providing valuable habitat for a range of wildlife species and contributing to the overall biodiversity of the area.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, the Common Whitebeam tree has a long cultural history and is steeped in folklore and tradition. In many cultures, the tree is associated with good luck and fertility, and its leaves and fruit have been used in a variety of traditional medicines.

However, despite its importance, the Common Whitebeam tree is considered to be at risk in some areas due to habitat loss and degradation. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and conserve the species, including the creation of wildlife preserves and the establishment of seed collections to ensure the survival of the species into the future.

The Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a valuable and important tree species with a wide range of uses and benefits. Its ornamental value, ecological importance, cultural significance, and genetic diversity make it a valuable addition to any landscape, and efforts should be made to protect and conserve this important species for future generations.

Aside from its ornamental, ecological and cultural values, Common Whitebeam also has potential for use in reforestation and land rehabilitation projects. The tree is able to grow well in a variety of soils and can tolerate exposure to salt and coastal winds, making it a good choice for coastal and other challenging environments.

Common Whitebeam is also a valuable source of firewood, producing high-quality wood that is dense and durable. The wood has a high energy content and burns well, making it a good choice for use in wood-fired heating systems and stoves.

The tree's leaves and bark have also been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and have been found to contain a range of compounds with medicinal properties. Research is ongoing into the potential therapeutic uses of these compounds, and the tree's leaves and bark are used in a range of traditional remedies for various ailments.

Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a versatile and valuable tree species with a wide range of uses and benefits. Its ornamental, ecological, cultural, and medicinal values make it an important tree species to protect and conserve, and its potential for use in reforestation and land rehabilitation projects, as well as for firewood and traditional medicine, makes it an important species for the future.

Common Whitebeam is a relatively slow-growing tree, with a growth rate of around 20-30cm per year. It has a dense, rounded crown and a sturdy trunk, making it an ideal choice for urban landscapes and other areas where space is limited. The tree's white flowers and red fruit also make it a popular choice for wildlife gardens, where it provides an important source of food and habitat for a range of bird and insect species.

In terms of landscape design, Common Whitebeam can be used as a standalone specimen tree or planted in groups to create a striking visual impact. The tree's lobed leaves and white-underside foliage make it an excellent choice for adding interest and texture to the garden, and its autumn leaf color adds to its seasonal appeal.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological benefits, Common Whitebeam is also a valuable species for its role in supporting other species in the ecosystem. The tree's flowers provide nectar for a range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths, and its fruit is an important food source for birds and mammals.

Common Whitebeam is a hardy and resilient tree, and is able to tolerate a range of environmental conditions, including exposure to wind, salt, and drought. It is also resistant to many pests and diseases, and is relatively low maintenance, making it a popular choice for low-maintenance landscapes.

In conclusion, Common Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) is a valuable and versatile tree species with a wide range of benefits and uses. Its ornamental value, ecological importance, hardiness, and low maintenance make it an ideal choice for landscaping and wildlife gardens, and its cultural and medicinal uses make it an important species for the future.

Facts About the Common Whitebeam

Here are several facts about the Common Whitebeam:

  1. Scientific Name: Sorbus aria, commonly known as the Common Whitebeam, belongs to the Rosaceae family. It's a deciduous tree native to Europe and parts of Western Asia.

  2. Appearance: The Common Whitebeam typically grows to around 10-15 meters in height, showcasing an attractive, rounded crown with dark green, oval-shaped leaves that turn a vivid red or orange in autumn, providing a striking display of color.

  3. Flowers and Fruits: In spring, it produces clusters of creamy white flowers, which later develop into small red berries that birds often feed on. The tree's fruit is an essential food source for various bird species.

  4. Habitat: Common Whitebeam trees are adaptable and thrive in a variety of environments, from valleys to mountain slopes. They are often found in mixed woodlands, rocky hillsides, and limestone areas.

  5. Longevity: These trees have a relatively long lifespan and can live for several decades, sometimes up to a century, if conditions are favorable.

  6. Ecological Importance: Common Whitebeam contributes to biodiversity by providing food and habitat for various wildlife, including birds and insects. They also play a role in stabilizing the soil due to their deep root systems.

  7. Cultural Significance: In some regions, Common Whitebeam trees hold cultural significance and have historical associations with folklore or traditional uses in herbal medicine.

  8. Landscape Use: Due to their attractive appearance, these trees are often cultivated in parks, gardens, and urban landscapes for ornamental purposes.

  9. Challenges: Like many tree species, Common Whitebeam faces threats such as habitat loss, deforestation, and diseases that can affect its growth and sustainability.

  10. Conservation: Efforts are being made in various regions to conserve and protect these trees through planting initiatives, preservation of their natural habitats, and awareness campaigns about their ecological importance.

Common Whitebeam, with its aesthetic appeal and ecological significance, stands as a beautiful component of Europe's natural landscape, contributing both visually and ecologically to the environments in which it grows.


Video 1: Common Whitebeam in flower filmed around Lancashire at 4 different locations in 2022 and 2023.


Video 2: Common Whitebeam in fruit filmed in the Chorley region of Lancashire on the 23rd August 2023.


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