E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sorbus aucuparia L.
European mountain-ash (rowan)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Mike Edley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8744)

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Distribution of Sorbus aucuparia
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This is a deciduous species of small tree that introduced from Eurasia.

Species Information

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Small tree, 5-15 m tall; branches ascending to spreading, greyish; winter buds and young growth densely greyish-soft-hairy.
Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound; leaflets 11 to 15 (17), oblong to oblong-lanceolate, 2-6 cm long, sharp-pointed at the tip, mostly smooth, saw-toothed almost to the base.
Inflorescence a flat-topped, branched cluster of numerous (75 or more) small flowers, the branches more or less white-hairy; corollas white, the petals 5, nearly circular, 3-4 mm long; calyces hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular; ovaries inferior; stamens 15-20.
Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), globe-shaped, 9-11 mm wide, scarlet, not glaucous, 2- to 5-chambered; seeds 1 or 2 per chamber.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Orange
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist, open forests, fields and roadsides in the lowland zone; frequent in SW BC, rare northward along the coast; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

Sorbus aucuparia is considered an emerging invasive species in the Vancouver region by the Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council (2009). An emerging invasive is defined by them as: currently found in isolated, sparse populations but are rapidly expanding their range within the region. It is already well-established in the Fraser Delta.


Ecological Framework for Sorbus aucuparia

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 11 745 1500
Slope Gradient (%) 0 27 135
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
4 192 292
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(2), CWH(8), ESSF(5), ICH(1), PP(1), SBS(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pyrus aucuparia (L.) Gaertn.
Sorbus aucuparia var. xanthocarpa Hartwig & Rümpler

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References