Medium to tall shrub, 1-4 m tall; stems several, erect to spreading, sparingly branched, greyish-red; winter buds and young growth not sticky, somewhat rusty-hairy.
Alternate, deciduous, pinnately compound; leaflets 7 to 11, oblong to oblong-egg-shaped, 2-7 cm long, rounded to blunt at the tip, smooth above, sometimes rusty-hairy below, rather coarsely saw-toothed for not more than 3/4 their length.
Inflorescence a half-rounded, branched cluster of numerous (15 to 80) small flowers, the branches often minutely rusty-hairy; corollas white to cream, the petals 5, oval, 4-6 mm long; calyces mostly smooth, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular; ovaries inferior; stamens 15-20.
Berry-like pomes (like miniature apples), nearly globe-shaped to ellipsoid, 8-10 mm long, red, glaucous, 2- to 5-chambered; seeds 1 or 2 per chamber.
Two sympatric varieties occur in BC:
1. Leaflets entire or toothed mostly above midlength................ var. grayi (Wenzig) C.L. Hitchc.
1. Leaflets toothed one-half to three-quarters their length................. var. sitchensis
Present from Summer to Fall
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Sorbus occidentalis (S. Watson) Greene
Sorbus sitchensis subsp. grayi (Wenzig) Calder & Roy L. Taylor
1. Plants becoming trees over 5 m tall; leaflets usually more than 13, winter buds covered with long soft-hairy grey hairs; styles 2 or 3...........................S. aucuparia
1. Plants shrubby, usually less than 5 m tall; leaflets rarely as many as 13, winter buds not covered with long soft grey hairs; styles 3 to 5.
2. Winter buds rusty-hairy; calyces smooth on outside; leaflets blunt or rounded at the tip, toothed for not more than 3/4 of their length; styles 4 or 5, fruit red, glaucous...............S. sitchensis
2. Winter buds sticky, sparsely white-hairy; calyces hairy on outside; leaflets sharp-pointed at tip, toothed for most of their length; styles 3 or 4; fruit orange, not glaucous................S. scopulina
Source: Illustrated Flora of British Columbia