Rowan, mountain-ash (Eng), serbal de cazadores (Spa), moixera de gilla (Cat), otsalizarra (Baq), cornabois, escornabois (Glg), serveira-dos-pasarinheiros, serverira brava (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? Because of its showy flowers and fruits the rowan is often planted as an ornamental tree.
Medium-sized tree with grey bark that can be up to 20 m tall. The buds and shoots are not sticky, but they are very hairy, which differentiates this species from Sorbus domestica L. The leaves are deciduous and compound with an odd number of leaflets (odd-pinnate) that are elongated and serrated over their whole margin. The flowers are white and fragrant, and bloom in May or June in very numerous terminal groups. The fruits are globose, pea-sized when ripe, bright red or orangey, and stay on the tree once it has lost its leaves in the winter.
The rowan grows in woodlands of beech, oak, birch, fir, pine, and broom, or isolated in clearings, on margins and in rocky areas. It appears in mountainous regions in ravines, and on cool, humid slopes. It can stand temperature variations, drought and humidity, as well as poor, stony soil, where it often found as here it will not be eaten by cattle, although it resprouts well from stumps. We can find it on calcareous substrates, but it prefers lime-free soils. It can live at altitudes of up to 2300 m, right at the tree line, the limit where the temperature becomes too low for trees to grow.
This tree is found throughout Europe (including Iceland), Greenland, Madeira, western Asia and northern Africa. It is more abundant in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and it disappears towards the south.