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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordoo: Rosales

Familia: Rosaceae
Subfamilia: Amygdaloideae
Tribus: Maleae
Subtribus: Malinae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenera: S. subg. Albocarmesinae – S. subg. Sorbus
Species: S. albopilosa – S. amabilis – S. americana – S. amoena – S. arachnoidea – S. arguta – S. armeniaca – S. aucuparia – S. bissetii – S. carmesina – S. cashmiriana – S. caucasica – S. californica – S. commixta – S. cuspidata – S. decora – S. discolor – S. dumosa – S. ellipsoidalis – S. esserteauana – S. fansipanensis – S. filipes – S. foliolosa – S. forrestii – S. frutescens – S. glabriuscula – S. glomerulata – S. gonggashanica – S. gracilis – S. hajastana – S. harrowiana – S. hedlundii – S. helenae – S. heseltinei – S. hudsonii – ‎S. hupehensis – S. hypoglauca – S. insignis – S. karchungii – S. khumbuensis – S. kiukiangensis – S. koehneana – S. kongboensis – S. kurzii – S. kusnetzovii – S. lanata – S. lanpingensis – S. lingshiensis – S. luristanica – S. macrantha – S. matsumurana – S. medogensis – S. microphylla – S. migarica – S. monbeigii – S. muliensis – S. multijuga – S. needhamii – S. obsoletidentata – S. oligodonta – S. parvifructa – S. persica – S. poteriifolia – S. prattii – S. pteridophylla – S. randaiensis – S. reducta – S. rehderiana – S. reflexipetala – S. rufopilosa – S. salwinensis – S. sambucifolia – S. sargentiana – S. scalaris – S. scopulina – S. setschwanensis – S. sharmae – S. sitchensis – S. spongbergii – S. subfusca – S. takhtajanii – S. tamamschjanae – S. tianschanica – S. tiantangensis – S. ulleungensis – S. ursina – S. vestita – S. vilmorinii – S. wallichii – S. wilsoniana – S. yondeensis – S. zayuensis

Sorbus L.

Type species: S. aucuparia L.


Aucuparia Rivinus ex Medik.
× Sorbotoraria Mezhenskyj


Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 477. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Sorbus in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Jan. 4. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Sorbus. Published online. Accessed: Jan. 4 2020.
McAllister, H.A. 2005. The genus Sorbus. Mountain ash and other rowans. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Rushforth, K.D. 2018. The Whitebeam problem, and a solution. Phytologia 100(4): 222–247. PDF Reference page.
Sennikov, A. 2014. Proposal to conserve the name Sorbus (Rosaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 63(5): 1139–1140.
Sennikov, A.N. & Kurtto, A. 2017. A phylogenetic checklist of Sorbus s.l. (Rosaceae) in Europe. Memoranda Societatis pro Fauna et Flora Fennica 93: 1–78. PDF Reference page.

Vernacular names
العربية: غبيراء
azərbaycanca: Quşarmudu
башҡортса: Миләш, Мышар
беларуская (тарашкевіца): Рабіна
беларуская: Рабіна
български: Офика
čeština: Jeřáb
Cymraeg: Criafolen
dansk: Røn
Deutsch: Mehlbeeren
Ελληνικά: Σόρβον
English: Rowan
Esperanto: Sorpujo
español: Serbal
eesti: Pihlakas
فارسی: غبیرا
suomi: Pihlajat
Nordfriisk: Fögelbeien
français: Alisier, Sorbier
Gaeilge: Caorthann
hornjoserbsce: Mučnica
magyar: Berkenye
հայերեն: Արոսի, սնձնի, սին
íslenska: Reyniviður
italiano: Sorbo
日本語: ナナカマド属
қазақша: Шетен
перем коми: Пелідз
коми: Пелысь
лакку: Швай
Līvõ kēļ: Pīʼlgõd
lietuvių: Šermukšnis
latviešu: Pīlādži
мокшень: Пизелкс
македонски: Оскоруша
кырык мары: Пӹзӹлмӹ
эрзянь: Пизёлкс
Nederlands: Lijsterbes, Meelbes
norsk nynorsk: Asal, Rogn
norsk: Asalslekten
ирон: Цъуй
polski: Jarząb
português: Sorveira, Tramazeira
русский: Рябина
саха тыла: Сарбанньах
davvisámegiella: Skábit
slovenčina: Jarabina
svenska: Oxel, Rönn
Türkçe: Üvez
удмурт: Палэзь
українська: Горобина
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Chetan
vepsän kel’: Pihl'
Tiếng Việt: Thanh lương trà
中文: 花楸属

Sorbus is a genus of over 100 species of trees and shrubs in the rose family, Rosaceae. Species of Sorbus (s.l.) are commonly known as whitebeam, rowan (mountain-ash) and service tree. The exact number of species is disputed depending on the circumscription of the genus, and also due to the number of apomictic microspecies, which some treat as distinct species, but others group in a smaller number of variable species. Recent treatments[1][2][3][4] classify Sorbus in a narrower sense to include only the pinnate leaved species of subgenus Sorbus, raising several of the other subgenera to generic rank.

Sorbus is not closely related to the true ash trees which belong to the genus Fraxinus, although the leaves are superficially similar.


As treated in its broad sense, the genus is divided into two main and three or four small subgenera (with more recent generic assignments in parentheses):

Sorbus subgenus Sorbus (genus Sorbus s.s.), commonly known as the rowan (primarily in the UK) or mountain-ash (in Ireland, North America and the UK), with compound leaves usually hairless or thinly hairy below; fruit carpels not fused; the type is Sorbus aucuparia (European rowan). Distribution: cool-temperate Northern Hemisphere. (Genus Sorbus s.s.)
Sorbus subgenus Aria (genus Aria), the whitebeam, with simple leaves usually strongly white-hairy below (hence the name, from German Weissbaum, 'white tree'); fruit carpels not fused; the type is Sorbus aria (common whitebeam). Distribution: temperate Europe & Asia.

Sorbus subgenus Micromeles (genus Aria), an indistinct group of a few east Asian species (e.g. Sorbus alnifolia, Korean whitebeam) with narrow leaves; doubtfully distinct from and often included in subgenus Aria. Distribution: temperate northeast Asia.

Sorbus subgenus Cormus (genus Sorbus), with compound leaves similar to subgenus Sorbus, but with distinct fused carpels in the fruit; just one species, Sorbus domestica (True Service Tree). Distribution: North Africa, warm-temperate Europe, West Asia.
Sorbus subgenus Torminaria (genus Torminalis), with rather maple-like lobed leaves with pointed lobes; fruit carpels not fused; just one species, Sorbus torminalis (Wild Service Tree). Distribution: temperate Europe, south to the mountains of North Africa and east to the Caucasus ranges.
Sorbus subgenus Chamaemespilus (genus Chamaemespilus), a single shrubby species Sorbus chamaemespilus (false medlar) with simple, glabrous leaves and pink flowers with erect sepals and petals. Distribution: mountains of southern Europe.
Sorbus subgenus Umbellata (genus Umbellata), Sorbus umbellata ssp. flabellifolia has oval with saw-like indentations along the upper edges of the leaf. It produces an edible but not high quality fruit. Distribution: mountains of Lebanon and specifically Ehden and Shouf Nature Reserves at elevations between 1300 to 1800 meters.
Hybrids are common in the genus, including many between the subgenera; very often these hybrids are apomictic (self-fertile without pollination), so able to reproduce clonally from seed without any variation. This has led to a very large number of microspecies, particularly in western Europe (including Britain) and parts of China.

Sorbus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some moth species—see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Sorbus. Sorbus domestica is used to flavour some apple wines, see Apfelwein.
Main article: List of Sorbus species
Ornamental trees

Sorbus species are cultivated as ornamental trees for parks and gardens and as avenue trees, and have given rise to several cultivars. The following, of mixed or uncertain parentage, have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit:[5]

’Eastern Promise’[6] (purple autumn colour, pink berries)
’Leonard Messel’[7] (small tree to 4m, pink berries)
’Wisley Gold’ [8] (yellow berries)


Red rowan

Rowan in the garden of Eastern Siberia


Robertson, K. R., J. B. Phipps, J. R. Rohrer, and P. G. Smith. 1991. A Synopsis of Genera in Maloideae (Rosaceae). Systematic Botany 16: 376–394.
McAllister, H. 2005. The Genus Sorbus: Mountain Ash and Other Rowans. Richmond, Surrey, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Potter, D., T. Eriksson, R. C. Evans, S.-H. Oh, J. E. E. Smedmark, D.R. Morgan, M. S. Kerr, and C. S. Campbell. (2007). Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 266(1–2): 5–43.
Campbell C. S., R. C. Evans, D. R. Morgan, T. A. Dickinson, and M. P. Arsenault. 2007. Phylogeny of subtribe Pyrinae (formerly the Maloideae, Rosaceae): Limited resolution of a complex evolutionary history. Pl. Syst. Evol. 266: 119–145.
"AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 98. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Sorbus 'Eastern Promise'". Retrieved 12 November 2018.
"RHS Plantfinder - Sorbus 'Leonard Messel'". Retrieved 12 November 2018.

"RHS Plantfinder - Sorbus 'Wisley Gold'". Retrieved 12 November 2018.

9. Sorbus Umbellata [1] 10. Sorbus Umbellata [2]
Further reading
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sorbus.

Price, D.T. 2007. One-way introgressive hybridisation between Sorbus aria and S. torminalis (Rosaceae) in southern Britain. Watsonia. 26: 419–431.

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