Sorbus aria (L.) Crantz - Common whitebeam tree, Beam or ashberry round-leaf.


Family Rosaceae Juss., genus Sorbus L.


Crataegus aria L., Mespilus aria Scop., Pyrus aria Ehrh., Hahnia aria Medik., Azarolus aria Borkh., Pyrenia aria Clairv., Aria nivea Host, Pirus aria A. typica Asch. & Graebn.

Morphology and biology.

2n=34. Deciduous tree 10-12 (up to 15) m in height or high shrub. Has smooth brownish or grey brown bark with light strips; young shoots shining, olive or brown-yellow in color, more or less tomentose; terminal buds ovoid-conical, 5-10 mm in length, hairy. Leaves are green in spring, dark green in summer, yellow in autumn; leaves alternate, whole, round, round-oval or ovoid-oval, 5-10 cm in length and 3-6 cm in width, coriaceous, on top acute or obtuse; leaf margins usually duplicodentate; upper leaf surface dark green, bare, shining or pubescent only along the main vein; lower leaf surface is white-tomentose. Petiole 1-2 cm in length, tomentose. Flowers comparatively large, white or light pink, 1.5 cm in diameter, combined into tight corymbose inflorescence 5-10 cm in diameter. Axial parts of the inflorescence and calyx tomentose; stamens shorter than petals, anthers yellow. Flowering lasts 9 days. Fruits usually contain 2 seeds, spherical or ellipsoid shape, orange-red, up to 1.5 cm across, with mealy flesh. Mass of 100 fruits is 94.60 g; mass of 1000 seeds is 20.45 g. Fruit-bearing lasts 10 years. Flowering occurs in May through the beginning of June; fruit-bearing occurs from mid-September-October. There are many garden forms, among them f. Decaisneana, which has large leaves up to 18 cm in length and flowers 2 cm in diameter; f. edulis, which has elliptical or oblong leaves 13 cm in length and fruits 2 cm across; some forms have yellowish leaves.

Distribution and origin.

Under natural circumstance, this species grows in Estonia. In Western, Central, and Southern Europe, it can be found in broad-leaved forests alongside Quercus, Tilia, Betula, Populus, Malus, Salix, and Corylus. It occurs in the Himalayas and Siberia, though its population lessens in the sub-alpine zone. Cultivation of the species began in 1880. Cultivated in western regions of the Europe region of the former USSR, sparsely in central and southern regions and in Transcaucasia, sporadically in northwestern regions, in Siberia and the Far East (Vladivostok). Originated in the Carpathian Mountains, the Balkans, and the Alps.


Comparatively drought-resistant, photophilous. Mezophyte. Undemanding to soil (grows in almost all soils, even the most poor) but prefers fertile, friable, lime-rich soils. Favorable conditions for shoot growth involve a comparatively cool spring-summer period combined with sufficient precipitation. Quite winter-hardy in the Baltic States but freezes noticeably in the more continental and cold climate of Moscow. Vegetation period lasts 175 days.

Economic value.

There many garden forms. Fruits are edible. Wood used for making furniture and different household equipment. Ornamental plant during entire period of vegetation thanks to the silvery-white leaves, aesthetic round-ovoid or wide-pyramidal shape of the crown, big inflorescences, bright and large fruits, and colorful autumn foliage, which falls off significantly later than that of European Rowan. One may be recommended for solitary or group plantings. Propagated by seed and inoculation.

Literature cited.

Denisov N.I. & Hrapko O.V., eds. 2001. Vascular plants of Botanical garden-institute DVO RAN. Catalogue. Vladivostok: Dal.nauka, 262 p.
Griner B.M. 1960. Trees and shrubs usefulness for cultivation in open soil of European part of the USSR. Issue 1. Moscow: MOLMI, 129 p.
Kuz.min M.N. 1969. Trees and shrubs Forest-steppe experience-selection station. Voronrzh: knizhnoje izdatelstvo, 114 p.
Leont.ev P.V. Tsaul.skii park: Bulletin of Main Botanical garden. Issue 29.
Lypa A.L. 1957. Determinant of tree shrubs. Vol. 2. Kiev: izdatel.stvo Kievskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta im. T.G. Shevchenko, 386 p.
Maurin A.M., Puka T.F. & Riekstin I.R. 1957. Ornamental wood and shrub kinds in the collections of Botanical garden in Salaspils: Bulletin Main Botanical Garden. Issue 29. Moscow: USSR, P. 14-25.
Murzova R.M., Abdurahmanov A.N. & Maksimova G.V. 1977. Dendrology of Uzbekistan. Vol. 8: Generic complexes - Birch, ash, rowan. Tashkent: RAN, 223 p.
Niine A., Veski V. Tallinna Botaanikaaia Uurimused. Vol. 1. P. 209-226.
Petrova I.P. 1983. Rhythms of plant growth of the several species Sorbus L. in the conditions of introduction: Wood plant in the nature and culture. Moscow: Nauka, 223 p.
Petrova I.P. 1986. Introduction of the species of genera Sorbus L. in Europe part of the USSR: Growth and development of the wood plants in culture. Moscow: Nauka, 198 p.
Petrova I.P. 1990. Valuable for landscape gardening species of rowan: Woody trees recommended for landscape gardening of Moscow. Ed. by L.S. Plotnikova. Moscow: Nauka, p. 94-103.
Petrova I.P. & Borodina N.A. 1992. Rowan: Sums of introduction in Moscow. Moscow: Nauka, 118 p.
Sokolov S.Ya., ed. 1954. Trees and shrubs of the USSR. Vol. 3. Moscow-Leningrad: Publisher of Academy of sciences of the USSR, pp. 478-479.
Zinovskis R.E., ed. 1983. Botanical garden of academy of science Latvia SSR 1956-1981. Riga: Zinatne, 325 p.
Zinovskis R.E., Bize M.A., Knape D.A. & Kucheneva G.G., eds. 1983. Conspectus of dendroflora of Kaliningrad region. Riga: Zinatne, 162 p.

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