Whitebeam, common whitebeam (Eng), mostajo (Spa), moixera (Cat), hostazuria (Baq), raña, sorba (Glg) mostageiro (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The unripe fruits of this tree cause constipation, but if they are very ripe, they have a laxative effect.
Deciduous tree that can be up to 25 m tall, with hairy twigs and smooth grey bark. The leaves are simple, alternate (this character is seen best in the middle of the branches, as at the ends they can appear close together), broadly oval, rounded or oval-lanceolate. They are 4-12 cm long and 2-9 cm wide, serrated, sometimes pointed or with very shallow lobes, differentiating it from Sorbus intermedia (Ehrh.) Pers., and S. latifolia (Lam.) Pers., which it could be confused with. The underside is covered by a dense, whitish or greyish tomentum that makes the leaves velvety, a character that it shares with the other two species mentioned. The flowers are white and develop in the spring in dense groups. The ripe fruits are red or brown, globose or a little oval in shape and less than 1 cm in diameter.
This species usually appears together with humid woodlands of beech, birch, English oak, Portuguese oak, holly, holm oak and pine, on boundaries, margins and in clearings. Sometimes it grows in cracks and difficult-to-access rocky places, rarely forming copses. It is indifferent to soil type and lives from sea level up to altitudes of 2200 m.
It is distributed across most of Europe and Asia, where it reaches the Himalayas, while to the south it goes as far as the Atlas mountains. It is more abundant in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and disappears towards the southwest.