Service tree of Fontainebleau
Service tree of Fontainebleau, broad-leaved whitebeam (Eng), mostajo (Spa), mostajeiro (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The genome of this species originates from Sorbus aria and S. torminalis. The leaves have the same width and tomentum of the first species and the lobes of the second.
This broadleaved tree can be up to 10 m tall, and normally has a very straight form and a regular crown. The branches and twigs are long, and the latter are somewhat reddish in colour. The buds are covered with a whitish cottony tomentum. The leaves are deciduous, simple, and alternate (this character is seen best in the middle of the branches, as at the ends the leaves can appear very close together). They have clear and distinguishable triangular lobes that are more or less separated and which have a very serrated margin. They are wide compared with their length, unlike in Sorbus intermedia (Ehrh.) Pers., which it could be confused with. They are 8-12 cm long and 5-13 cm wide, hairless on the upper side and with an ash-grey or whitish velvety cover on the underside. The white flowers bloom in showy terminal groups between May and June. The fruits are fleshy and shaped like small pears 1-2 cm long. They have a warty appearance and are orangey or brownish when ripe.
This species is usually found scattered in scrubland and forests of English oaks, Portuguese oaks, pines, in riparian formations, thickets and on valley plains. It grows in places with a certain degree of humidity, as it cannot withstand long, hard summer droughts. It is indifferent to soil type and is commonly found between altitudes of 500-1000 m.
It lives in the northwest of Africa and southern, eastern and central Europe, from Great Britain and France to Hungary. It is scarce on the Iberian Peninsula, primarily occurring in the northern and east-central regions, although it has been found in some places in the Béticas range and central Portugal.