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

Sorbus scopulina Greene
western mountain-ash (Greene's mountain ash)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23651)

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Distribution of Sorbus scopulina
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Species Information

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Medium to tall shrub, 1-5 m tall; stems several, erect to spreading, freely branched, reddish-brown to yellowish; winter buds and young growth sticky, somewhat white- or grey-hairy.
Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound; leaflets (7) 9 to 13, oblong-lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 2-8 cm long, usually short-tapering to a sharp-pointed tip, smooth, finely saw-toothed almost to the base.
Inflorescence a flat-topped to somewhat rounded, branched cluster of numerous (70 to 200 or more) small flowers, the branches more or less white-hairy; corollas white to cream, the petals 5, oval, 4-6 mm long; calyces white-hairy, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular; ovaries inferior; stamens 15-20.
Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), nearly globe-shaped, 7-10 mm long, orange to scarlet, not glaucous, 2- to 5-chambered; seeds 1 or 2 per chamber.
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Leaflets often 13; stipules usually shed before end of blooming; plants from E of Coast-Cascade Mountains................ var. scopulina

1. Leaflets rarely more than 11; stipules persistent until after blooming; plants from W slope of Cascade Mountains..................... var. cascadensis (G.N Jones) C.L. Hitchc.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist glades, streambanks, forest edges and open forests in the montane and subalpine zones; frequent throughout BC, except rare W of Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, E to AB and S to ND, WY, NM and N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sorbus scopulina

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) 6 1086 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 21 230
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 188 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 8
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: AT(1), BG(1), BWBS(129), CMA(1), CWH(109), ESSF(1108), ICH(811), IDF(52), MH(31), MS(168), PP(3), SBPS(28), SBS(1225), SWB(6)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant to very shade-intolerant, montane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed in the Cordilleran region, marginally in the Pacific and Central regions. Occurs in continental boreal and wet cool temperate climates on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence increases with increasing continentality. Common but scattered in open-canopy, coniferous forests on water­shedding sites; persists in clearings. Characteristic of Mor humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References